If you are injured in an auto accident in which someone else rear-ends you, you may potentially have a very strong case for holding that rear driver liable and receiving an award of damages. Potentially, you may be able to have a judge hold the other driver liable without even having to go to trial. A knowledgeable New York car crash attorney can walk you through all of the options available to you for proceeding in your rear-end accident case.
One recent example was Alina, who was involved in a rear-end accident in Queens. Alina was in the lead vehicle. The rear vehicle, which crashed into hers, was a privately owned emergency vehicle. When you are injured because someone rear-ends you, and that someone is a private individual, the law gives you certain opportunities for recourse when it comes to compensation for your injuries. This generally includes suing the driver who rear-ended you and perhaps that driver’s auto insurer.
When the driver who rear-ends you is on the job when she hits you, however, your options may be more numerous, but that also makes your case potentially more complicated. You may have a case against the driver’s employer, and you may possibly have a case against the vehicle’s owner (which may or may not be the same person or entity as the driver’s employer).
In Alina’s case, she sued the driver and the EMS company that employed the driver. In any injury case, there can be varying degrees of success. One of the higher forms of success is securing a summary judgment in your favor on the issue of liability. That means that the judge has determined, needing only each side’s court filings to rule, that your opponent(s) were at fault in the accident and liable to you for damages.
A rear-end accident presents a particularly strong opportunity to succeed in holding an at-fault driver liable through summary judgment. New York law is very clear that the “driver of a vehicle approaching another vehicle from the rear is required to maintain a reasonably safe distance and rate of speed under the prevailing conditions to avoid colliding with the other vehicle.” That’s why rear-end accidents are almost always the fault of the rear driver unless the rear driver can present to the court some special circumstances that demonstrated that she was not negligent. (For example, if a lead driver stops abruptly, completely, and unexpectedly in the middle of a non-congested freeway, that might be adequate proof that the rear driver wasn’t negligent.) There are various ways that the defendant can get this evidence before the judge, such as offering an affidavit of testimony from someone with personal knowledge of the accident.
The EMS driver in Alina’s case didn’t have any proof of any such special circumstances. The defendants in Alina’s case tried to defeat her request for summary judgment by arguing that it was premature and that, if they had more time to conduct more discovery, they might be able to refute her claims. As the Appellate Division explained in ruling that Alina should receive summary judgment in her favor, a defendant’s “mere hope or speculation that evidence sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment may be uncovered during the discovery process is an insufficient basis for denying the plaintiff’s motion” for summary judgment.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a rear-end or other auto accident, talk to the Queens auto accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our team has been helping people throughout the New York City area pursue fair recoveries for the harm they’ve suffered. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
What Is (And Is Not) a ‘Valid, Non-Negligent Explanation’ and What Does That Mean for Your New York Rear-End Accident Case?, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 25, 2017
Rear-Ending Another Vehicle Doesn’t Always Make an Accident in New York Your Fault…Here’s an Example, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2017
Photo credit: Gellinger, [CC0 License], via Pixabay