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New York Court Examines Evidence of Proximate Cause in Car Accident Cases

Car accidents frequently happen in New York and, in most instances, are brought about by negligent driving. People injured in such crashes, therefore, will frequently pursue claims against the parties responsible for the collision. Defendants in car accident cases will rarely admit fault and may attempt to garner judgment in their favor prior to trial. As shown in a recent New York ruling, though, if there is any dispute regarding the cause of the accident, the court will not dismiss a plaintiff’s claims.  If you were harmed in an auto accident, it is wise to meet with a Syracuse personal injury lawyer to determine what damages you may be able to recover.

The History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a collision that occurred on a New York expressway. The accident occurred when the defendant moved into the plaintiff’s lane of travel, colliding with the plaintiff. The plaintiff instituted a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident and his subsequent injuries. After discovery, the defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Evidence of Proximate Cause in Car Accident Cases

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that a driver moving for summary judgment on a negligence claim arising out of a car accident has the burden of showing, prima facie, that they did not cause the collision.

The court went on to note that drivers who have the right of way are entitled to expect other motorists to abide by traffic laws that require them to yield. Drivers that have the right of way can nonetheless be found at fault for collisions if they fail to exercise reasonable care to avoid a crash. Drivers with the right of way may not be found comparatively negligent for failing to evade an accident if they only have seconds to react, however.

As there could be multiple proximate causes of a collision, a driver that has the right of way must show, prima facie, that their actions did not cause the accident. In the subject case, the court found that the defendant failed to show, prima facie, he was entitled to judgment in his favor as a matter of law. Namely, the video evidence the defendant submitted in support of his motion did not corroborate his argument. As such, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Seasoned Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Car accidents frequently cause significant losses, and people harmed in collisions may be able to recover compensation from the parties responsible for their harm. If you were injured in a crash caused by a reckless driver, you should talk to an attorney about your possible claims. The seasoned Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at helping people hurt by the negligence of others seek justice for their losses, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us by calling 833-247-8427 or by using our form online to set up a conference.

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