Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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In any civil lawsuit case, there are many extremely important decisions that must be made. It is important to recognize that, with each vital choice, there are two equally important aspects – making the right decision and making it at the right time. Summary judgment may be the correct procedure to get you the victory you need, but not if you file your motion for summary judgment prematurely. To help you be sure that your timing is right, be sure you have an experienced New York City injury attorney on your side.

A couple of recent auto accident cases reflect how this summary judgment process can work or fail. L.M. was a driver who was allegedly injured in Brooklyn when he was rear-ended at a T-intersection. L.M. had asserted in his case that he had stopped at a red light and initiated his right-turn signal, then was hit in the rear just as soon as the light turned green.

L.M. moved for summary judgment. The defendant argued that L.M.’s motion was premature. The trial court decided that it was not, and ruled for L.M. (The Appellate Division later affirmed that outcome.) In order for the defendant to have had any possibility of having a case, he needed some something that refuted what L.M. had asserted and that provided some sort of non-negligent explanation for having rear-ended L.M.

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Sometimes, the explanation – and blame – for an accident can be fairly clear. Perhaps the driver who hit you was intoxicated, was asleep, was texting or otherwise distracted by a phone, was speeding or violated the rules of the road. Other times, though, none of those things are true about the accident that injured you. Just because your accident’s facts fit into the latter category, that does not automatically mean, however, that you cannot pursue the driver who hit you successfully. There may still be other valid bases for finding that driver negligent and getting the compensation you need. For skillful advice about how to handle your accident case, be sure to obtain representation for an experienced New York injury attorney.

In February, a tragic accident involving a well-known figure in New York sports made headlines, including a report by ESPN. A long-time college basketball coach was driving along an interstate highway late one night when he struck a man who was in the road on foot. The impact inflicted fatal injuries upon the man.

At the conclusion of the police’s investigation into the accident, authorities decided that the state would bring no criminal charges against the coach. The coach was not speeding and was not driving recklessly. Additionally, he was very helpful and cooperative at the scene, including submitting to a blood-alcohol content analysis that yielded a result of 0.00, a report stated.

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A major auto insurance company has a series of television commercials in which it touts the value of its experience. Each commercial presents a scenario where a customer encountered damage as a result of some particularly bizarre set of facts. At the end, the actor-spokesman states that the customer was covered and that, at the insurance company, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

Personal injury law can be a bit like that. You want to be sure that you have experienced New York auto accident counsel on your side to give yourself the best chance of success. You want a legal team that has seen “a thing or two” in court and, therefore, knows “a thing or two” about getting you the recovery you deserve, no matter how odd the cause of your injury.

H.F. was a driver who experienced such an unusual injury in his case. H.F. was behind the wheel of a stopped car in Manhattan. All of a sudden, H.F. found himself a situation that would startle many of us. A tow truck that was in front of him began moving backward and heading directly for him. The tow truck eventually slammed into H.F.’s car, causing him to suffer substantial injuries. What made H.F.’s case especially unique was that there was no one behind the wheel of the truck when it crashed into H.F.’s car.

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No one wants to imagine being rear-ended in an auto accident. However, whether it is due to a driver under-appreciating how slick or slippery roads are, a driver falling victim to distractions like cell phones, or some other cause, these accidents happen all too often. When it happens to you, you probably know that the rear driver is typically at fault and that you may be entitled to compensation in court. But would you know how to go about getting that much-needed compensation? And, more precisely, would you know the best way to do it? For answers to these and other questions, be sure to retain the services of a skilled New York City injury attorney.

Many people probably know that they can sue the driver who rear-ended them. But there’s more to it than that. A full trial on the issue of the accident’s causation and the other driver’s liability can possibly be very time consuming and stressful–and there may be a way to avoid it. That method for avoiding a full trial on the issue of liability is called “summary judgment,” and was a key to success for a pair of injured drivers in their recent cases.

Summary judgment means that the judge has decided that, of the factual disputes that may exist between you and the other driver, there are none that would alter the outcome of the case. Even if every factual dispute was resolved in your opponent’s favor, the law would still dictate that you win. When that happens, you win on liability and the case moves on to a trial–albeit only on the issue of how much your damages award should be.

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If you’ve heard people discuss the circumstances of a person injured in an auto accident, you’ve probably heard the advice that the injured driver/passenger/pedestrian should call an experienced New York City injury attorney right away. You may have heard this exhortation in a television or radio commercial or you could’ve read that advice in this blog. This advice comes up so frequently because it’s generally solid advice and it’s really important if your injury incident eventually requires you to take legal action. That’s because, while this is hopefully your first time dealing with a personal injury legal situation, it is definitely not your skilled injury attorney’s first. Your attorney knows what steps to take and knows what to do immediately

Why do these things matter so much? Here’s a recent real-life case that provides a useful example. M.O. was operating his vehicle in Manhattan when he slowed to make a right-hand turn. The vehicle behind him didn’t slow down fast enough and rear-ended M.O. M.O. suffered substantial injuries in the accident.

Would you know who to sue if you were M.O.? You might know, on your own, that you can bring a legal action against the rear driver. However, your skilled attorney can help you “dig deeper.” For example, if the owner of the rear vehicle was someone other than the rear driver, then the law may allow you to sue both the driver and the vehicle owner. Furthermore, if the driver was engaged in some activity advancing the interests of his employer, you may be able to include the employer as a defendant in your case.

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When you have a fairly strong case, there are various avenues to reach a successful outcome. While any of those avenues can potentially provide you with the compensation you need, some may be even more optimal than others. For example, if you can persuade the trial court that it should award you summary judgment in your case, then that means that the defendants will be held liable, and you will have gotten that judgment of liability without having to undergo the stress and potential uncertainty of a full trial on the question of fault. In order to make sure you are taking the best approach to get the compensation you need, make sure you consult and retain a knowledgeable New York injury attorney.

One situation that can lend itself to achieving a successful summary judgment motion in an auto accident case is when there is a clear-cut case of one party’s having wrongfully failed to yield the right of way. As an example, take the case arising from an intersection accident in Dutchess County. A.M.’s vehicle collided with a vehicle driven by B.R. B.R.’s vehicle was owned by another person, M.G. B.R. was traveling along a street that had stop sign. A.M.’s street had no traffic signal or sign.

A.M. sued both the other driver and the owner of the vehicle. The central thrust of A.M.’s case was fairly straightforward: B.R. negligently ran the stop sign and caused the crash. This meant that B.R. improperly failed to yield the right of way in violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, was liable for A.M.’s injuries and owed her damages, according to the complaint.

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In many rear-end accident scenarios, the driver of the rear vehicle is often the one determined to be legally liable and the driver of the lead vehicle may be the person who seeks compensation for his injuries. In some specific circumstances, though, you may be entitled to a judgment finding the other driver negligent and liable, and yourself entitled to an award of damages, even if you were the driver of the rear vehicle. There are various situations in which a rear driver can be mostly or even completely free of negligence in causing the rear-end accident. Before you assume you have no case because you were the rear driver, be sure you have first consulted with an experienced New York injury attorney.

A recent case that involved this type of scenario happened in Duchess County. The fact pattern was familiar. Vehicle A came to a stop. Vehicle B didn’t, and thus rear-ended Vehicle A. The accident caused one of the drivers to suffer injuries. The person who was hurt and sued was H.M., the driver of the rear vehicle. The driver of the front vehicle, R.A., asserted that she had intended to make a left turn and, in order to do so, had gradually come to a complete stop and had turned on her blinker as she waited for traffic to clear. H.M. asserted that R.A. didn’t signal and that she stopped very abruptly.

In a case like this, one of the important hurdles for you to clear is to defeat the defense’s request for summary judgment, which would result in your case being thrown out before you even make it to trial. In this case, the Appellate Division determined that H.M. had enough to take his case to trial. The state route along which R.A. and H.M. were traveling was one in which drivers “could reasonably expect that traffic would continue unimpeded.” When you’re in those conditions and the car in front of you stops so abruptly that you can’t avoid a collision, even utilizing a safe following distance and keeping a proper lookout, then you may be entitled to a ruling that holds the lead driver liable.

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If you are involved in an auto accident in New York and suffer injuries as a result, there are certain factual things that have the potential to make your case more challenging. If you were driving the rear vehicle in a rear-end collision, that has the potential to work against you. If you were in a collision with a vehicle that was performing work on a road at the time of the accident, this can also possibly weaken your case. None of these things are, by themselves, automatically fatal to your case, however. You still have options for achieving a successful outcome. Be sure to talk to a knowledgeable New York injury attorney about your case.

As an example, look at the case of P.C. P.C., while on his way to church one February morning. encountered a most unexpected sight. As he crested over a hill, he found a snow plow in his lane, driving in reverse. P.C. braked but could not avoid colliding with the plow. The snow plow driver continued backing up for 3-4 seconds after the crash before he realized he’d hit someone.

P.C. sued the plow driver and the town for whom the driver was working. P.C.’s case offers a couple of important elements of New York law related to auto accident injuries. Generally, in a situation where two vehicles collide with the rear of the front vehicle impacting the front of the rear vehicle, then the rear driver is the person who will be determined to be legally at fault in causing the accident. There are, however, certain situations in which a rear driver will not be liable in this type of accident. If the rear driver proves that he encountered an unexpected event or that the front driver engaged in negligent driving, and that the rear driver did everything he could to avoid the accident, then the rear driver may be free from liability. Recently, the New York courts ruled in favor of a rear driver who crashed into the back of a truck that had struck an overpass and had, as a result, stopped abruptly in the middle of a highway. In P.C.’s case, the front vehicle was driving in reverse in a travel lane, and P.C. had evidence that he did everything he could to avoid the crash.

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Rear-end accidents are a somewhat unique type of auto accident case in that the law creates certain legal presumptions about which driver was to blame for a rear-end accident. These presumptions can be very helpful if you are the injured driver of the vehicle that was rear-ended. In some situations, you may be entitled to a judgment holding the other driver liable without even having to undergo a trial on the issue of liability. An experienced New York accident injury attorney can help guide you through the legal processes of obtaining compensation for your rear-end accident damages.

To understand how these cases work, here’s a recent case that offers a real-life illustration. N.H. was a driver injured in a crash in Westchester County. In her case, N.H. testified that she had approached a red traffic signal and stopped. Five seconds later, another driver rear-ended her.

If you are injured because someone crashes into you from behind, that fact is potentially very helpful. New York law says that merely offering proof that you were rear-ended while stopped or stopping “establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the” rear driver.

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In some auto accident situations, there may be the possibility of obtaining a judgment against many different people and entities. It is very important to assess the evidence very carefully and make thoughtful trial strategy choices. If you leave off a viable defendant, it could cost you later in terms of getting full compensation. When it comes to making these and other essential decisions in your case, it is beneficial to avoid going it alone and instead to rely upon the knowledge and experience of a skilled New York City car accident attorney.

A recent case from the Hamptons provided an example of pursuing many defendants for one two-vehicle intersection crash. The facts of the case were as follows. Stephanie was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Valerie. At an intersection in East Hampton, Valerie’s vehicle collided with one driven by Arlene. At the time, Arlene was operating a vehicle owned by her employer. Valerie was headed east and had a stop sign. Arlene was traveling south, and she did not have a stop sign.

Stephanie sued Arlene, Arlene’s employer, Valerie, and the owner of Valerie’s vehicle. Arlene and her employer asked the trial court to dismiss the case against them. Their argument was that Valerie violated Section 1142(a) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law by failing to yield at the stop sign. Since Valerie’s failure to obey the stop sign was the sole cause of the accident, Stephanie could not be entitled to compensation from Arlene and her employer.

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