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Typically, a plaintiff in a personal injury case will request a jury trial. As such, issues such as liability and damages will be determined by the plaintiff’s purported peers based on the evidence submitted by each party. Jurors do not always appropriately evaluate testimony, however, and can issue a verdict that does not align with a proper reading of the evidence, resulting in an unjust outcome. Fortunately, the law allows parties to seek a reversal of a verdict on the grounds that it is contrary to the weight of the evidence, as discussed in a recent New York opinion arising out of a car accident case. If you were hurt by the careless acts of a person driving a vehicle, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Buffalo car accident attorney regarding your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by the first defendant, which was involved in a collision with a car driven by the second defendant. The plaintiff sustained injuries in the crash and filed a lawsuit seeking damages from both defendants under a theory of negligence. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately found the first defendant completely liable for the accident, assigning none of the liability to the second defendant. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence. After reviewing the case, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Seeking Reversal of a Verdict

Under New York Law, a court assessing whether a jury’s verdict conflicts with the weight of the evidence presented at trial must evaluate whether the evidence is so heavily in favor of one party that the jury could not have reached its verdict based on any reasonable interpretation of the evidence. The appellate court explained that credibility determinations are the purview of the jury, as they were able to observe the evidence and witnesses. Thus, the jury’s verdict is entitled to deference, and the prevailing party is permitted to presume that the jury’s view of the evidence was fair and reasonable. Continue reading

Drivers have an obligation to operate their vehicles safely. This means, in part, that a motorist must maintain sufficient distance from other cars and travel at a safe speed. Drivers who fail to abide by the law and drive recklessly are more likely to cause crashes, and if they do, they can be held liable for injuries sustained by other parties. Even in cases where it seems like the fault is clear, though, it is not uncommon for defendants to attempt to avoid liability, but they face a high burden of proof, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion. If you were hurt in an accident caused by another driver, you might have a viable claim for damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Buffalo personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

The Accident

Reportedly, the plaintiff-husband was driving a car in which the plaintiff-wife was riding as a passenger. They were struck from behind by a pickup truck owned by the defendant company and operated by the defendant driver. The plaintiffs, who were injured in the accident, commenced a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants. The defendants moved to amend their answer to assert the emergency doctrine defense, and the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment on the matter of liability. The court granted the defendants’ motion but denied the plaintiffs’, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Liability for Crashes Caused by Trailing Vehicles

Under New York Law, a person operating a vehicle that is approaching another car from the rear has an obligation to maintain a distance and speed that are reasonably safe in consideration of the current circumstances in order to avoid colliding with the other car. If a driver fails to uphold these duties and causes a rear-end crash with a vehicle that is stopped or stopping, the driver will be deemed negligent on the face of the facts unless he or she can come forward with an explanation to rebut the presumption of negligence. Continue reading

Car crashes frequently cause cervical strain and sprain and other neck and back injuries. Whether such injuries are compensable depends, in part, on whether they are deemed serious as defined by New York Law. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion discussing what constitutes serious harm in a case in which the plaintiff was ultimately denied the right to recover damages. If you suffered injuries in a collision that was brought about by someone else’s negligence, you could be owed compensation, and it is prudent to speak to a skillful Buffalo car accident attorney regarding your potential damages.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was involved in a collision with the defendant, which was her fourth car crash in five years. She filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that his negligent operation of a vehicle caused her to sustain a serious injury as defined by New York’s insurance laws. Following discovery, the plaintiff served the defendant with a bill of particulars alleging that she sustained serious injuries to her spine that significantly limited her bodily function. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the plaintiff had not, in fact, sustained a serious injury. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Serious Injuries Under New York Law

Under the No-Fault Law, the right to pursue non-economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit arising out of a car accident is limited to those cases in which the individual suffered a serious injury. In turn, New York’s insurance laws define serious injuries as the consequential and permanent limitation of use of a member or organ and a substantial limitation of the function or use of a body system. In determining whether a limitation of a function or use is consequential or significant, the court will assess the medical significance of the injury and its qualitative nature or degree, based on the typical function, use, and purpose of the injured body part. Continue reading

Winters in New York often result in a significant amount of snowfall, and snow and ice are common causes of slip and fall accidents. People hurt in falls caused by slippery conditions may be able to recover damages from the parties that own or maintain the property where they fell if they can establish liability. Recently, a New York court discussed fault in slip and fall cases in a case in which the plaintiff suffered injuries due to snow and ice on the defendants’ property. If you were hurt after you fell on snow or ice, you might have a valid claim for damages, and it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Buffalo personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

It is reported that the plaintiff slipped and fell on ice and snow that was piled onto a concrete island in the middle of a parking lot in a shopping center. The plaintiff was attempting to cross the island to get to a restaurant when he fell. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants, the property owner, management company, and snow removal contractor. The defendant owner and defendant property management company filed motions for summary judgment, in which they requested that the court dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court denied the motions, and the defendants appealed.

Liability in Slip and Fall Cases

A defendant moving for summary judgment in a slip and fall case must establish that the evidence, when taken at face value, shows that it did not create the dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff’s fall, nor did it have constructive or actual knowledge that the condition existed. A property owner does not have a duty to protect or warn people about conditions that are not obvious and open and not in and of themselves dangerous. Continue reading

Usually, when a rear-end collision occurs, it is because of the carelessness of the person driving the second vehicle. As such, in a lawsuit arising out of rear-end crashes, liability is often not in dispute. That is not always the case, however, and simply because one driver strikes another from behind does not automatically mean that fault for the accident is clear. The process of determining liability in a rear-end crash was the topic of a recent opinion issued by a New York court, in a matter in which it was ultimately determined that the issue of liability should be submitted to a jury. If you were injured in a rear-end car accident, you could be owed damages, and it is prudent to confer with a capable Buffalo car accident attorney to determine your options.

The Plaintiff’s Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff was driving a car that was struck in the rear by a vehicle operated by the defendant, which caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries. The plaintiff then sued the defendant for damages. Following discovery, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to find that the defendant was liable for the accident as a matter of law. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and she appealed. On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Proving Liability in Rear-End Crashes

Under New York law, a rear-end crash involving a car that is stopped or stopping establishes the negligence of the driver of the rear car, prima facie. As such, the rear driver must rebut the inference that he or she was negligent by offering a non-negligent excuse for the crash. Explanations that do not involve negligence may include the fact that the plaintiff’s car made a sudden lane change in front of the defendant, which required the defendant to stop suddenly. Continue reading

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