Rear-end collisions often cause not only significant property damage but also substantial injuries. Rear-end accidents are one of the most common types of crashes in New York, but they are almost always avoidable and are usually the direct result of negligent driving. If you suffered injuries due to a rear-end collision, you have a right to seek compensation from the driver that caused your harm. The knowledgeable Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assist you in pursuing whatever damages you may be owed following your accident. We regularly represent injured people in car accident cases in Syracuse, where our main office is located, as well as in Rochester and other cities in Upstate New York.Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1129, all drivers are prohibited from following the vehicle in front of them more closely than is prudent and reasonable when considering the condition of the road, the traffic traveling the road, and the speed of the vehicles. While the law may not specify an exact distance in feet, it emphasizes the importance of maintaining a safe following distance to ensure that a driver can stop their vehicle safely if the vehicle in front stops suddenly.
Not all drivers adhere to this rule, however, and tailgating causes many rear-end collisions. In many instances, drivers will be distracted by their phones or GPS system and will fail to notice a vehicle in front of them until it is too late. Or a driver may be traveling too fast for weather conditions and will be unable to stop in time due to a slippery roadway. Rear-end collisions can also be caused by drivers who simply follow the car in front of them too closely.Establishing Liability for Rear-End Collisions
In most lawsuits that arise out of a car accident, the injured party, who is referred to as the plaintiff, will allege that the driver who caused the accident, who is known as the defendant, was negligent and, therefore, should be held accountable for any harm caused by the accident.
In New York, to prove a defendant is liable under a theory of negligence, the plaintiff usually must establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to act with reasonable care, the duty was breached, and the breach proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer actual harm. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the accident would not have happened absent the breach and that the breach substantially caused the accident.
Notably, in New York, there is a “rear-end collision presumption,” which means that the driver of the rear vehicle in a rear-end collision is presumed to be negligent. As such, it is often relatively easy to establish fault in rear-end crash cases. This presumption is not absolute, however, and it can be rebutted by evidence showing that the lead driver was also negligent or that the collision was not solely the fault of the rear driver.Damages Recoverable Following a Rear-End Collision
In many rear-end collision cases, the defendant will not dispute liability but will argue that the plaintiff did not suffer any harm as a result of the accident. In such instances, it is important for the plaintiff to document any medical treatment for the injuries sustained in the accident, as well as any out-of-pocket expenses.
If a plaintiff successfully proves the defendant is liable and that the accident caused quantifiable harm, the judge or jury may award the plaintiff compensation for the cost of any medical treatment, as well as damages for lost wages, if the injuries rendered them unable to work. Additionally, the plaintiff may be awarded damages for the pain and suffering caused by the accident. If the plaintiff was married when the accident occurred, his or her spouse might also be able to recover damages.Speak With a Seasoned Attorney in Syracuse, Rochester, or Upstate New York
Rear-end collisions can cause severe injuries and property damage. If you were injured in a car accident, you should speak with a skilled attorney about your options for seeking damages. The seasoned Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the facts of your case and zealously pursue the full amount of damages you may be owed. Our main office is in Syracuse, and we frequently represent injured people in car accident cases in Syracuse, Rochester, and other cities throughout Upstate New York. You can contact us through our form online or by calling 833-200-2000 to set up a free and confidential meeting.