Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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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Achieving success in an auto accident case requires many things. One of those things is the ability to locate, collect, and organize all of the evidence that supports your version of the events that led to the collision. You may need photographs, eyewitness accounts, official reports, and expert opinions. A piece of evidence that contains a statement from the other driver that backs up your assertions can be especially helpful. When it comes to amassing all of these pieces of evidence and then putting them together in one cohesive and persuasive case, rely upon the skill and experience of a knowledgeable New York car accident attorney to give your lawsuit what it needs for success.

An example of this type of scenario played out recently in a case from Brooklyn. The case involved an intersection collision between a taxi and a scooter. The two vehicles were traveling in opposite directions on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn when they collided at the intersection of Park Place.

The scooter driver, Teddy, sued for the injuries he suffered in the accident. Teddy sought summary judgment to hold the taxi driver liable. The scooter driver’s theory of the case was that the taxi driver was in the process of attempting a left turn when he improperly failed to yield the right of way and made an illegal left turn right into the path of Teddy’s scooter.

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Sometimes, your auto accident case may seem straightforward. “I was stopped and the other driver hit me from behind” is an example. Other times, the facts of your circumstance may be complex and multi-faceted. One recent example was a chain reaction accident in which the lead driver was hurt in the crash and then injured again when another driver struck him while he was on foot. Even the seemingly simple cases, though, can turn out to be complicated in actuality. If you have been hurt in an accident like that, you should ensure that you are prepared for whatever your case throws at you by having a skilled New York auto accident attorney representing you from the start.

The Appellate Division recently rendered a ruling in the chain reaction case in which the plaintiff was injured twice. The accident, which took place in 2013, was a real-life “series of unfortunate events.” Jonathan G. was stopped while waiting for a break in traffic in order to make a left turn. Jonathan N. and Brian were properly stopped behind the lead vehicle. Mary Beth, however, did not stop. She crashed into Brian, whose vehicle slammed into Jonathan N., who, in turn, crashed into Jonathan G. This collision caused Jonathan G. to suffer some harm.

The lead driver, however, was well enough to drive his vehicle onto an intersecting road. He then parked and returned to the accident scene to assist the other drivers and to exchange insurance information. On the way, though, 85-year-old Mary struck Jonathan G., causing him to suffer serious injuries.

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In New York, blame for rear-end vehicle accidents operates under a specific set of rules. Generally, the rear driver is at fault for the accident because each driver has a legal obligation to operate his vehicle in a safe manner and to maintain a safe following distance behind the vehicle in front of his. If he has rear-ended the vehicle in front of him, it is typically true that, legally speaking, this was a result of the rear driver’s negligence in failing to maintain a safe following distance, and the front driver can potentially recover compensation for her injuries. To make sure you get the compensation that you legally deserve, retain the services of a skilled New York car accident attorney.

Bannelis’ case was an example of a rear-end accident in which there were no special circumstances, and the rear driver was responsible. Bannelis was driving in the Bronx when she was rear-ended, and the accident caused her to suffer injuries that prompted her to sue. While it is generally the case that a rear driver is legally liable for a rear-end crash, that is not always so. In some situations, there are valid non-negligent explanations for a rear-end accident. For example, if a vehicle traveling in open traffic on an expressway stops in the middle of that expressway and is rear-ended, the evidence may indicate that the front driver, rather than the rear one, was negligent for operating in an unsafe manner.

The Appellate Division upheld a trial judge’s decision to award Bannelis summary judgment in her favor, which meant that the defendant was declared legally liable, and that outcome was achieved without the injured woman having to undergo a full trial on the issue of liability.

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It is a position in which most drivers have found themselves at some point. You’re trying to turn left onto a busy four-lane road, but the traffic is too heavy. You decide to travel as far as the center turn lane. Drivers in the two lanes nearest you wave you out. So what happens if you go forward and then hit another car in the turn lane? Can you recover damages from that other driver if you’re injured? The answer is “perhaps yes,” as one recent case from the Buffalo area, and the court ruling it produced, demonstrated. One of the key things that you can take away from this situation is that you should never assume you cannot recover damages; always check with a knowledgeable New York car accident attorney first.

The accident that spawned the case took place in heavy traffic along Niagara Falls Boulevard. That stretch of the road had two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes, and a center turning lane. Diane entered the turn lane to make a left turn into a shopping plaza. Angela desired to turn left from a parking lot and get into the southbound lanes. Traffic was too heavy to allow Angela to get directly to the southbound lanes, so, after being waved forward by two stopped drivers occupying the two northbound lanes, Angela pulled into the turn lane. Once in the turn lane, she hit Diane. Angela was injured in the accident.

So, you might wonder, that means that Angela has no chance of recovering compensation for her injuries, right? Not necessarily. Even though Diane had evidence that Angela failed to yield the right-of-way, that was not the end of the case. Angela managed to avoid having her case thrown out on summary judgment because she presented evidence that, aside from the right-of-way issue, Diane committed a violation that played into the crash. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1126(c) prohibits drivers from driving in a center turn lane for any distance more than what’s needed to execute a left turn safely. According to Angela’s argument, Diane wasn’t merely using the center lane to turn left; she was using it to get around stopped traffic.

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