Although the majority of car accidents are caused by careless driving, people who negligently cause collisions rarely admit liability. Instead, in most instances, they will argue that there are factual disputes that must be resolved by a jury. In some cases, though, the evidence will be so compelling that the courts will deem a defendant liable as a matter of law, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a New York case arising out of a rear-end collision. If you were hurt in a car crash, you have the right to seek compensation, and it is wise to talk to a Syracuse personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Factual and Procedural History of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff husband was driving a vehicle in which the plaintiff wife was riding as a passenger when they were struck from behind by a car driven by the defendant. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit in which they asserted negligence claims against the defendant.
Allegedly, the defendant filed an answer in which he set forth the affirmative defense of comparative negligence. The plaintiffs then moved for dismissal of the affirmative defense and summary judgment in their favor on the issue of liability. The trial court denied their motion, and they appealed.
Summary Judgment in Car Accident Cases
On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that drivers approaching other vehicles from behind have an obligation to maintain a reasonably safe distance and speed in consideration of the existing conditions in order to avoid crashing into the other vehicle. As such, drivers that strike the rear of a parked or stopped vehicle are presumed to be negligent and must rebut the inference of negligence by offering a non-negligent reason for the crash.
In the subject case, the plaintiffs established, prima facie, their right to judgment in their favor as a matter of law by submitting the plaintiff husband’s affidavit in which he stated he was stopped in traffic when his car was struck in the rear by the defendant. Further, the plaintiffs demonstrated their right to judgment in their favor on the issue of comparative negligence. In response to the evidence submitted by the plaintiffs, the defendant did not raise a triable issue of fact. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling and granted summary judgment in the plaintiffs’ favor on the issue of liability.
Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer
Car accidents can cause lasting physical and emotional harm, and drivers that recklessly cause collisions should be deemed responsible for any damages brought about by their negligence. If you were hurt in a car crash, it is smart to meet with an attorney to assess your options for pursuing damages. The trusted Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at proving liability in cases arising out of collisions, and if you hire us, we will fight to help you seek a just outcome. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.