Recovering Damages for a Snowplow Accident
Snowplows move snow such that drivers can keep using the road after heavy snow. However, like operators of other vehicles, snowplow drivers may behave negligently and harm others on the road. It can be challenging to recover compensation under New York law when a snowplow driver has caused serious injuries but the snowplow is owned and operated by a governmental entity. If you were seriously injured or a loved one died in a snowplow accident, you may have a claim for damages. The seasoned Syracuse winter accident lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano seek the best results for their clients.Recovering Damages for Snowplow Accidents
In New York, operators of snowplows that work for the government, along with the governmental entity itself, are immune from suits only alleging negligence. However, they can be held responsible if they drive recklessly and thereby cause an accident in which you’re injured or a loved one is killed. Under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1103, you have only 90 days within which to give notice to the governmental entity. In addition to filing a claim in this brief window, our attorneys will also need to show the snowplow driver was working at the time of the accident in which you were injured and that the driver’s recklessness caused your injuries.
Our Syracuse lawyers will need to file a Notice of Claim with the State of New York if, for example, the Department of Transportation was in charge of the snowplow that was being operated on the road. When the proper notice is not filed, you may be barred from recovering damages from the state. This makes it critical to retain counsel who understand these lawsuits and how to hold the responsible parties accountable.What Constitutes Recklessness?
A snowplow driver is reckless when he shows conscious disregard for others’ safety, along with property. It can be a challenging standard for our attorneys to establish when a snowplow driver employed by the government is reckless rather than merely negligent. Negligence addresses what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances. Recklessness involves a driver who deliberately fails to look at the likelihood somebody would be injured.
However, Section 1103 applies only when the snowplow is “engaged in work,” meaning the driver must be involved in snow and ice removal when the accident happens. If the snowplow is moving but is not involved in plowing the snow, there may be culpability under the standard of negligence.Private Company’s Liability for Snowplow Accident
Our lawyers may find it more straightforward to recover damages if you were injured as the result of a snowplow owned by a private company, rather than a governmental entity. Section 1103 doesn’t apply to private companies even when they are operating on a public road. Either the private company or the driver may be held accountable for damages arising out of an injury if our lawyers can show negligence. As in other types of personal injury lawsuit, the elements of negligence, including actual damages, must be established by a preponderance of the evidence; this means it is more likely than not the elements are true.Comparative Negligence
In some cases, a snowplow operator will try to reduce your recovery by proving you failed to use reasonable care and were injured as a result of your own negligence. The doctrine of comparative negligence can result in your damages being reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. Needless to say, defendants are incentivized to turn over every stone looking for reasons an injured plaintiff is to blame for his or her own injuries. Likewise, they may even exert significant effort trying to prove that the decedent bears responsibility for his own death.
Experienced lawyers understand what they are up against and work hard to make sure their clients’ best interests are protected in the course of litigation. You should retain your own counsel rather than trust that the snowplow operator or his employer will do the right thing.Achieve the Best Outcome After a Snowplow Accident
If you suffered serious injuries or a loved one died as the result of a snowplow accident in Upstate New York, you may need to recover damages. You should give our seasoned Syracuse car accident lawyers a call. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents clients in Lowville, Rochester, Auburn, Watertown, Herkimer, Oswego, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Utica, Binghamton, and Elmira. Complete our online form or call us at 315-479-9000 for a free consultation.