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New York Court Discusses Proximate Cause in a Car Accident Case

New York law requires that motorists operate their vehicles in a safe manner and comply with traffic laws. Regardless, car accidents are common, and they usually occur because a person drove recklessly, in violation of the law. People hurt in collisions can pursue claims against the party responsible for their harm, but they must prove fault to recover damages. A defendant will rarely concede liability in a car accident case; on the contrary, many argue that they are not at fault and will ask the court to dismiss the case. In a recent New York ruling, a court explained what a defendant must establish to obtain judgment in their favor as a matter of law in a case arising out of a collision. If you sustained injuries in a car accident, you might be owed damages, and you should contact a Rochester personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered injuries in a car accident involving the defendant. The accident occurred when the plaintiff, who was making a U-turn from a bus lane, was struck by a vehicle owned by the defendant company and operated by the defendant driver. The defendants moved for dismissal via summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The court denied their motion, and they appealed.

Summary Judgment in Car Accident Cases

On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed. The court explained that a defendant moving for dismissal via summary judgment in a personal injury case must show, prima facie, that they were not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. As there can be multiple proximate causes of an accident, a defendant asking for summary judgment in their favor must show that they are free from fault as a matter of law.

The court noted that a driver that has the right of way nonetheless has an obligation to use reasonable care to avoid a collision, to drive at a speed that is reasonable in consideration of the present conditions, and to observe their surroundings. In the subject case, the defendant driver met his burden of showing that he did not proximately cause the collision via affidavits and surveillance videos and pictures. In response, however, the plaintiff offered evidence sufficient to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant acted negligently and proximately caused the accident. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Capable Personal injury Lawyer

Motor vehicle collisions are typically caused by negligence, and drivers that recklessly fail to adhere to the rules of the road should be held accountable for the losses they cause. If you were hurt in a car crash, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should meet with an attorney. The capable Rochester personal injury lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at helping injured parties protect their interests, and if we represent you, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.

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