Liability in Multicar Accidents
After a multi-car accident, it may be hard to figure out who should be held responsible for it. Sometimes cars are hit from behind and a chain reaction occurs in which one car bumps another car that bumps another car. However, in other cases, many drivers’ mistakes combine, or multiple cars collide in an uncontrolled intersection. Every multicar accident is different. You should call the experienced Syracuse car accident lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys about your situation. In a particularly complex case, we may need to retain an expert to determine liability in a multicar accident.Liability in Multicar Accidents
The person who is at fault for the car accident can be held accountable for the losses that arise from it. When only two vehicles are involved, as in a simple rear-end accident, the driver who strikes first is often deemed at fault, or mostly at fault; drivers are expected to be attentive to shifting road conditions and may be found comparatively negligent for taking their eyes of the road to attend to children or eating or even fiddling with the radio.
In a multi-car accident, establishing liability may be very complex and may require the examination of a knowledgeable and credible accident reconstruction expert. It’s crucial to retain counsel that works with experts who have the experience to pinpoint causation. Accident reconstruction experts may look at debris, skid marks, the particular damage to the vehicles, and witness testimony to determine which of the multiple drivers involved bear responsibility.
In car accident lawsuits, damages are often pursued under a theory of negligence. A simple two-car case, for example, would require us to prove negligence by showing by a preponderance of evidence: (1) the defendant owed you a duty to use reasonable care, (2) the defendant breached this duty, (3) actual and proximate causation, and (4) actual damages. In a complex lawsuit, these elements must be proven for several parties. New York follows the rule of comparative negligence, whereby a plaintiff’s damages are reduced by an amount proportionate to his or her degree of fault. Even more complicated are situations in which several defendants are at fault for the accident and the doctrine of joint and several liability applies.
Suppose, for example, driver A is distracted and plows through a red light and T-bones three drivers, Driver B and Driver C and Driver D, turning left at a busy intersection. Driver B was under the influence of drugs and sped up to try to beat Driver A. Driver D made an illegal left that amplified the effects of the accident. Driver C had the right of way. It could be difficult to figure out who should bear responsibility for the losses occasioned by Driver C’s resulting paralysis and brain injuries. Each of these different drivers may owe Driver C damages.
If more than one party is liable for a complex car accident, a modified doctrine of joint and several liability applies. In New York, under this doctrine, that means that any at-fault party may be ordered to pay the entire economic damages award arising out of a complex car accident, regardless of their particular percentage of fault. However, when a party is less than 50% responsible, it will only be required to pay a proportionate share of noneconomic damages awarded.Compensatory Damages
If our lawyers are able to establish multiple drivers’ liability, they may be required to pay for your losses as an accident victim. Compensatory damages may be economic or noneconomic. Economic losses could include lost wages, medical bills, replacement services, Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Generally, insurance covers a defendant’s liability to pay specific sums. It is important to retain lawyers that understand the insurance issues and how they could affect your ability to recover damages.Consult Seasoned Syracuse Personal Injury Attorneys
If you are concerned about liability in a multicar accident in which you were injured, you should talk with our seasoned Syracuse personal injury lawyers. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Attorneys is a firm with more than 30 years of experience seeking best results for car accident victims in Albany, Canandaigua, Lowville, Oswego, Lyons, Oneida, Auburn, Buffalo, Utica, Rochester, Cooperstown, Wampsville, Watertown, Herkimer, Ithaca, Elmira, Binghamton, and all of Upstate New York. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 315-479-9000.