Any vehicle accident in which you suffer injuries is an important one to you. While all auto accident cases are important, some may be more complex than others. Multi-vehicle accidents can create especially complicated cases for injured plaintiffs. These cases may present an increased number of variables, such as multiple potential defendants and multiple theories of how the crash occurred. They may also present a heightened need for an expert witness’ testimony. For assistance and guidance in making these and other essential decisions, a skilled New York car accident attorney can provide knowledgeable and vital aid in pursuing your case.
One recent case decided by the Appellate Division arose from a multi-vehicle crash that took place in March 2011 in western New York. In that incident, a driver made a sudden left turn. Behind her was a tractor-trailer, which hit the left-turning vehicle and jackknifed. The jackknifed rig then hit the plaintiff’s car, eventually sliding into a ditch and coming to rest on top of the plaintiff’s vehicle.
When you’re hurt in a multi-vehicle accident, your case can be very complicated. Whom do you sue? How do you go about pursuing each of the other drivers? If one of the other drivers was a commercial driver, can you also sue the driver’s employer and the owner of the truck? Can you also sue the owner of the trailer, if ownership is different?
The plaintiff in this case, Rosalie, wisely sued both drivers and the trucking company that owned the tractor-trailer. The truck driver and the trucking company asked the trial judge to end the case against them, arguing that the left-turning driver was 100% at fault in causing the accident, so they could not possibly be legally liable.
The trial judge granted that request, but the Appellate Division concluded that this was an error, and the plaintiff should be allowed to go to trial against all of the defendants. When you’re faced with a factually complex case like this, expert witnesses can be a substantial help. In Rosalie’s action, she had a forensic accident reconstruction expert, who gave expert testimony that the left-turning driver wasn’t the sole cause of the accident. The expert testified that the truck driver was also to blame because he deployed his truck’s brakes in an improper manner, and this erroneous braking was what caused the rig to jackknife after initially hitting the left-turning vehicle.
When you’re using an expert in your auto accident case, it is important that the expert testimony not be “speculative.” In Rosalie’s lawsuit, the Appellate Division determined that her expert’s opinions were based not on speculation but on “voluminous deposition testimony, police reports, and the New York State Commercial Driver’s Manual.” Since Rosalie presented a strong case, raising issues of liability on the part of both other drivers involved in the crash, she was able to proceed against all of the defendants.
Multi-vehicle injury crashes can make for complicated legal cases. Regardless of the apparent complexity or simplicity of your case, however, a skilled New York injury attorney can help you navigate the system and allow you to seek out the recovery you need.
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