Every day there are tragic deaths on New York roadways. A recent case involved the death of 2 people who were killed and 2 injured after the car they were traveling in crashed and then was struck by an SUV as it sat disabled in the HOV lane of the Long Island Expressway. The victims got out of the car after the initial crash and were hit while outside the vehicle. The case is being investigated and it may take years for the various factors to be analyzed and liability determined in a civil action.
Car accidents occur for many reasons, but some of the most common ones include:
- Condition of the vehicle (Was the car properly maintained or were there any manufacturing defects?)
- Driver error or driver negligence (Was the driver driving at an improper speed under the circumstances? Did he/she obey traffic rules? Was he/she intoxicated or distracted?)
- Time of day and weather (What was the weather and visibility?)
- Roadway conditions (Were there obstructions/debris in the road? Was the road slippery? Did the roadway design contribute to the accident?)
- Actions of the plaintiff victim (What were the victim’s actions and did they contribute to the accident?)
In this case, as in many accidents, there may be multiple factors which caused or contributed to the crash. The fact that the victims left their vehicle may be raised. One of the most common contributing factors in accidents is the conduct of the injured person – the plaintiff. However, just because the victim may possibly bear some responsibility, doesn’t mean he/she is precluded from recovering in a lawsuit for the negligence of the driver or other parties. In New York, comparative negligence rules apply. That means that a jury can compare and apportion the negligence of the plaintiff against that of the defendant and adjust its damage award according to the degree of comparative negligence of the plaintiff. Because New York is a “pure” comparative negligence state, accident victims can recover some compensation for their injuries no matter how negligent they were in their own driving, even if they are determined to be more at fault than the defendant.
Regardless of the cause of the accident, if you are in a vehicle that becomes disabled in a high-traffic area, follow advice from AAA to stay as safe as possible.
If you’ve been injured in a roadside accident, contact us for a consultation.