In many rear-end collisions, the second driver is at fault. In some instances, though, the first driver’s actions contribute to the crash as well. As demonstrated in a recent New York case, in such instances, the first driver bears the burden of proving they should not be deemed liable, and if they cannot, the claims against them will proceed to trial. If you suffered injuries in a collision, it is in your best interest to talk to a Syracuse personal injury attorney concerning what compensation you may be able to recover.
Factual and Procedural Setting
It is alleged that the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by the defendant driver, when the defendant driver’s vehicle was struck in the year by a taxi driven by the defendant taxi operator and owned by the defendant taxi company. The plaintiff sustained injuries in the crash; as such, he filed a lawsuit against the defendants, seeking damages for his personal injuries. The defendant driver moved for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint and all cross-claims against him, arguing that he was not at fault for the accident. The trial court granted the defendant driver’s motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint. The plaintiff appealed.
Liability for Rear-End Collisions
The appellate court reviewed the case, emphasizing that a defendant moving for summary judgment in a negligence action must establish prima facie that they were not at fault in the accident. The defendant driver, in support of his motion, provided an affidavit stating that his vehicle had been stopped for approximately one minute due to traffic conditions when it was struck from the rear by the vehicle driven by the defendant taxi operator. The court noted that this evidence demonstrated prima facie that the defendant driver was not at fault.
However, the court explained that the plaintiff countered in opposition, submitting an affidavit claiming that the defendant driver cut in front of the defendant taxi operator’s vehicle and abruptly stopped, thereby raising a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant driver’s actions were a proximate cause of the accident. The court noted that not every rear-end collision is solely the fault of the second driver and that the first driver has a duty not to stop suddenly without proper signaling.
Based on the conflicting evidence presented by the parties, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s affidavit created a genuine issue of material fact regarding the defendant driver’s alleged fault in causing the accident. Therefore, the court found that the trial should have denied the defendant driver’s motion for summary judgment, as it was inappropriate to resolve the factual dispute at this stage.
Confer with a Dedicated Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney
Car accidents can cause significant injuries, and in many instances, more than one party bears responsibility. If you were hurt in a collision, you may be able to recover damages in a civil lawsuit, and you should confer with an attorney about what claims you may be able to pursue. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our dedicated Syracuse personal injury attorneys will work tirelessly to help you seek the results you deserve. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to arrange a meeting.