Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations Syracuse | Oneida | Watertown | New Hartford | Binghamton | Cortland | Rochester | Oswego | Albany | Buffalo
Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
Rue Ratings - Best Attorneys of America
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Avvo Rating
Martindalle Hubbel
Best Law Firms

Car Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers for Vehicle Collisions

Car accidents can cause catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Common car accident injuries include broken bones, fractures, contusions, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, and scarring or disfigurement. Sometimes a limb or more than one limb is amputated. Car accidents can also result in an untimely death. Most people do not have enough saved in case of a serious car accident. If you or a loved one were harmed in a vehicle collision, you can consult the seasoned Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

No-Fault Insurance for Car Accidents

New York is a no-fault car insurance state. After a car accident, you’ll need to first turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to obtain compensation for your economic losses. For purposes of this PIP claim, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. However, if your injuries meet the threshold of serious injuries needed to go beyond the no-fault rules, you can sue the at-fault driver directly.

In order to recover damages under the no-fault law, you will need to show that an accident occurred in New York, that you were the driver or passenger of an insured vehicle (or a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a motor vehicle), and that the vehicle is a car or truck or bus or taxi registered in New York and covered by the no-fault law. Serious injuries that allow you to go beyond the no-fault coverage include substantially full disability for at least 90 days, significant restriction on using a body system or function, permanent restriction on the use of a body part or organ, bone fracture, or significant disfigurement. If your injuries qualify under this definition of serious injuries, you’re not restricted to a no-fault claim under your own insurance policy, and instead you can sue the at-fault driver in a personal injury lawsuit, and a car accident lawyer serving Syracuse can help.

Liability for Car Accidents

In order to establish another driver’s liability, you will most likely need to establish their negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This means you’ll need to show: (1) the other driver owed you a duty of care, (2) breach of the duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. A driver may breach the duty to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle by doing things like: speeding, driving with excessive speed given weather conditions, texting while driving, talking on a cell phone while driving, distracted driving, drunk driving, failing to obey signs and signals, tailgating, weaving, or driving recklessly.

If another driver’s negligence is to blame for a car accident, he or she will need to pay compensation. However, in most cases, drivers raise the defense of comparative negligence. In that case, the jury will be asked to calculate your total damages, but it will also calculate each party’s percentage of fault. Your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your share of fault. So, for example, if the total damages are $1,000,000, but you are found to be 50% responsible for the accident because you were weaving through traffic, and another driver was found 50% responsible for excessive speed, you may be able to recover $500,000 from the speeding driver, but you will be responsible for $500,000 of your damages yourself. Unlike some other states, New York follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means you can recover damages even if you’re found to be more responsible for the car accident than another driver. A knowledgeable Syracuse car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal rules involves in cases like this.

Sometimes car crashes are the fault of multiple drivers. New York follows the rule of joint and several liability with regard to economic losses. Under the doctrine of joint and several liability, anybody who is even a little bit at fault for a crash can be held responsible for 100% of the economic damages. However, if a defendant is less than 50% responsible for a car accident, she can only be held severally liable for your noneconomic damages. For example, if Driver A is 30% responsible for an accident, Driver B is 70% responsible for an accident, and your noneconomic damages are $100,000, you can only recover $30,000 from Driver A, and if Driver B is uninsured, you may not be able to collect $70,000 from him. On the other hand if Driver A is uninsured, you may be able to collect the full $100,000 in noneconomic damages from Driver A.

After the Accident

When anybody incurs more than $1001 in property damages due to an accident, the drivers involved in the crash are supposed to file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident form within 10 days of the crash. Importantly, if you were injured or anybody was killed in the crash, it’s important to notify the police and file an accident report. It is a crime to leave the scene of a car accident in which somebody has suffered personal injuries or died.

Additionally, it may be wise to take photographs of the scene of the accident, if you’re able. Sometimes skid marks and debris and property damage can be used as part of an accident reconstruction expert’s work to make sure the right parties are held accountable for damages arising out of the car accident.


Damages you may be able to recover after an accident that causes serious injuries include economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses can include wage loss, medical bills, replacement services, out-of-pocket losses, alterations to the home, and property damage. Economic losses are concrete losses. Often they are documented. For example, if you suffer a partial amputation in a car accident, you may need a surgery to repair the damage, and the cost of the surgery would constitute an economic loss. In some cases, it becomes necessary to retain an economic expert to opine on future economic losses, such as what you would have been expected to earn if you had not suffered disabling injuries in a car accident.

Noneconomic losses arising out of a car accident can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Syracuse

If you were harmed in a car accident in Syracuse, you may be able to sue for damages. It is important to talk to an experienced trial lawyer about whether you have a viable car accident claim. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents car accident victims in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Canandaigua, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Herkimer, Elmira, Binghamton, Wampsville, Utica, Oneida, Lowville, Oswego, and Watertown. Call our firm at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY