The legal technique known as a “motion for summary judgment” can be an important technique for an injured person suing for the recovery of his or her damages in a civil lawsuit. Summary judgment may allow the injured person to avoid the challenges of a full-length trial on liability and focus on proving the extent of damages. A knowledgeable New York car accident attorney can show you how a summary judgment may be able to help your case.
One case in which this arose recently was that of a woman injured in a crash at an intersection in Queens. Cathleen was attempting to make a left turn from the southbound lanes of one road to the eastbound lanes of the intersecting road. She had a green light. She allegedly checked the traffic in all directions and began making her turn. While in the intersection and in the process of completing the turn, Fernando, who was headed eastbound, allegedly ran the red light and hit Cathleen.
Cathleen was injured and sued for the damages she suffered. When you’ve been injured in a crash like this, there are likely multiple objectives you’d like to achieve. You want to obtain a judgment of liability, but you’d also like to receive that declaration of liability as swiftly and efficiently as possible. One way in which that can happen is by successfully making what’s called a motion for summary judgment. When the judge awards you summary judgment, that says that all of the essential facts are undisputed in the case and that, based upon the law of New York, there’s no way your opponent could win. Even if every issue and disputed item was resolved in favor of your opponent, the law would still necessarily declare your opponent liable.
This is an important tool because it allows you to proceed toward proving the extent of the harm you’ve suffered and work toward an award of damages, without having to go through the sometimes lengthy, expensive, and unpredictable nature of a full trial on liability. Winning a summary judgment motion is about having all of the proof you need lined up to show the judge that all of the relevant facts in your case are, in fact, undisputed.
That’s what Cathleen was able to do, with the trial judge issuing the summary judgment and the Appellate Division affirming that ruling. The plaintiff had evidence that she entered the intersection with the green light, and, in the process of making a left turn (and after checking for oncoming vehicles), she was hit by a vehicle that ran a red light. She also had evidence that the defendant was moving at a sufficiently fast rate of speed that she could not avoid the impact. This was enough to establish that the defendant was the “sole proximate cause” of the accident. Since the defendant had nothing to place any of those facts into dispute, the plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment in her favor.
The skilled Queens car accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been helping people injured in intersection collisions and a wide array of auto accidents for many years. Our team has extensive experience helping people in these kinds of cases as they pursue a fair and full recovery, and we are ready to talk to you about your case. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More blog posts:
What It Takes To Obtain a Summary Judgment on Liability in Your New York Intersection Crash Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 12, 2017
New York Driver’s Evidence Regarding Traffic Light’s Operation Enough to Warrant a Trial on Liability, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Dec. 28, 2016
Photo credit: FHWA, NCDOT (Public Domain) via Wikipedia.