There are multiple ways to secure a successful outcome in your auto accident case. While winning on liability after trial is a positive outcome, receiving the same result without having to go to trial could be even better for you. Depending on the facts of your case, your skilled New York auto accident attorney may be able to help you navigate the process and obtain the outcome you need by using the procedure of summary judgment. Summary judgment means that you’re asking the court to decide liability, or who was at fault for the accident, without going to trial.
One recent case in which the plaintiff secured a partial summary judgment was the matter of Rebecca and Alan, who were two drivers traveling on the same street in Cayuga County, with each driver headed in the opposite direction of the other. They both approached an intersection controlled by a traffic signal at roughly the same time. Both drivers had green lights. Rebecca proceeded straight through the intersection. Alan attempted to turn left and collided with the front of Rebecca’s vehicle.
Rebecca filed suit for the injuries she sustained in the crash. She asked the court to grant partial summary judgment, meaning to decide that the defendant was 100% responsible for the crash. She argued that the proof in her case left no factual dispute that Alan was negligent and at fault for the accident by failing to yield the right of way and turning into her vehicle.
The trial court did not agree, but the Appellate Division did. A defendant’s being guilty of violating the Vehicle and Traffic Law can be an important part of a plaintiff’s argument in favor of summary judgment, but it isn’t enough by itself. In Rebecca’s case, the court relied upon Alan’s unexcused violation of Section 1111(a) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (which requires drivers turning with a green light to yield to oncoming drivers who are going straight with a green light).
The plaintiff also had additional proof, including her own deposition testimony, indicating that she went through the intersection with the right of way and that Alan improperly failed to yield and attempted a left turn, even though it “was not reasonably safe to do so.” This combination of evidence was enough for the court to decide that the defendant was 100% responsible for the crash.
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