When you’ve been injured in a multi-vehicle accident, your case can be very complex. There may be many steps and hurdles involved in making sure that your case proceeds properly and successfully against all of the drivers who may have been responsible for the damages you suffered. One example of this was a recent case originating in upstate New York, in which the injured driver won her appeal and was allowed to pursue both other drivers involved in the crash that harmed her.
The crash took place in March 2011 in Genesee County. A driver of a car executed a very sudden left turn in front of a tractor-trailer. The truck driver could not stop and struck the car. After hitting that car, the big rig jackknifed and slid into another car (this one driven by the plaintiff). In the end, the tractor-trailer wound up in a ditch, situated on top of the plaintiff’s car.
In cases like this, suing both the drivers may be the best approach, since it could allow the injured plaintiff to obtain a more complete recovery of her damages. The plaintiff in this case filed suit against the driver of the other car, as well as the truck driver and the truck driver’s employer. The truck driver and the employer then asked the trial judge to dismiss them from the case. In support of this dismissal request, they argued that the driver who made the sudden left turn was 100% responsible for the entire chain of events and that they were therefore not liable to the plaintiff for her injuries.
The trial judge agreed with this reasoning and issued a summary judgment order in favor of those two defendants. The left-turning driver was the sole cause of the accident and therefore was the sole proper defendant, the trial judge ruled.
The plaintiff achieved a better result on appeal, when that court reversed the trial judge and concluded that the plaintiff should be allowed to pursue all of the defendants she named. The key to her success came down to the proof she had amassed. Specifically, the piece of evidence central to this successful appeal was her expert witness. The plaintiff retained an expert witness who opined that, while the left-turning driver may have been the sole cause of the crash between that vehicle and the tractor-trailer, the truck driver’s driving was partly to blame for the impact between the truck and the plaintiff’s car. According to the plaintiff’s expert, the truck driver made a mistake after the collision with the first car, improperly hitting the brakes. This error, the expert opined, was what caused the tractor-trailer to jackknife and hit the plaintiff’s car.
The expert was able to support his opinions with the use of “voluminous deposition testimony, police reports, and the New York State Commercial Driver’s Manual.” This evidence was sufficient, according to the Appellate Division, to raise a “triable” factual issue and allow the plaintiff to continue pursuing her case against each of the defendants.
Multi-vehicle accidents can be complex and can make for complicated cases when it comes to seeking the recovery you deserve for the injuries you suffered. The hardworking Queens truck accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been working with injured people for many years to help as they pursue their cases and recovery for the harm they’ve suffered. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys to discuss the details of your case and how we can help you, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Middle Driver in Manhattan Multi-Car Accident Can’t Escape Case Via Summary Judgment Motion, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 19, 2017
Your New York Injury Case in a Multi-Car Rear-End Accident, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 11, 2016