Car accidents occur regularly in Syracuse, and they are typically brought about by negligent driving. Fortunately, people hurt in collisions can recover compensation via personal injury cases if they establish liability. In most cases, the issue of liability must be decided by a jury. In some instances, though, a court will find the evidence of the defendant’s fault to be so compelling that it will issue a judgment in favor of the plaintiff as a matter of law. Recently, in an opinion issued in a New York car accident case, a court discussed what a plaintiff must prove to obtain summary judgment in their favor. If you were injured in a car crash caused by a reckless driver, you might be owed damages, and you should meet with a Syracuse personal injury lawyer about your potential claims.
History of the Case
It is alleged that the plaintiff was stopped at a red light in his car when he was struck from behind by a bus operated by the defendant driver and owned by the defendant transit authority. The plaintiff suffered bodily harm and property damage in the collision and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit asserting negligence claims against the defendants. Following the completion of discovery, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The court granted judgment in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.
Obtaining Summary Judgment in a Car Accident Case
On appeal, the trial court ruling was upheld. The court explained that under New York law, a rear-end crash involving a stopped establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the second driver. As such, the second driver must rebut the inference of negligence by offering a non-negligent explanation for the collision.
The court elaborated that a driver approaching another vehicle from behind must maintain a reasonably safe distance from the car in front of them and drive at a safe rate of speed to avoid a collision. Additionally, the assertion that a lead car came to a sudden stop, in and of itself, is not adequate to rebut the presumption of negligence on the part of the operator of the second car.
In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff had set forth evidence adequate to show, prima facie, that he was entitled to judgment in his favor as a matter of law. In response, however, the defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Talk to a Trusted Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer
Defendants will rarely admit fault in car accident cases, but in some instances, the court will find it appropriate to deem a defendant negligent as a matter of law. If you suffered losses in a car crash, you have the right to pursue claims against the responsible party, and you should talk to an attorney. The experienced Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and help you to seek a just outcome. You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.