During the holidays, there are naturally more cars on the road. More people are looking to travel more places to spend time with family and loved ones. With more cars on the road comes more traffic and with more traffic comes more accidents, generally speaking. As reported by the National Safety Council, holiday periods are often associated with increased car crashes that result in serious injury or even death. Some of these car crashes and injuries result from rear-end collisions.
Determining who is at fault after a New York car accident is not always straightforward. There can be different causative factors, and various responsible actors. New York is a comparative fault jurisdiction, meaning that an injured motorist’s own negligent behavior will not necessarily prevent them from receiving compensation for pain and suffering.
In a rear-end car accident, however, liability can sometimes be simple to determine. New York courts have held that there is a rebuttable presumption the rear-ending motorist is at fault. Thus, the rear-ended motorist can establish that the rear-ending motorist was at fault by simply pointing to the nature of the collision: a rear-ender. If it is uncontested that the nature of the collision was a rear-ender, the burden of rebutting or explaining why the collision happened will shift to the rear-ending motorist, who must come forward with a “non-negligent” explanation for the collision. Generally speaking, if the rear-ending motorist cannot produce a non-negligent explanation, they will be found negligent.
Some courts find that a sudden, unexpected stop by the preceding motorist may constitute a non-negligent explanation. For example, in one case the rear-ending motorist said that he did not see the preceding vehicle until immediately before the accident when the vehicle changed lanes and then slammed on the brakes instantly or quickly. Where, however, the rear-ending driver said that his foot slipped from the brake because the vehicle was missing a brake pedal pad, that was not found to be a non-negligent explanation for a rear-end collision.
Every case is unique, and it is not appropriate to generalize. An experienced attorney can examine the facts of any case and advise whether the rear-ending motorist could be negligent, and thus liable, for injuries caused in a rear-end collision. A successful claim for pain and suffering in New York requires a showing of negligence, among other things. For example, because New York is a no-fault state, most motorists also need to show a “serious injury,” which can sometimes be an elusive concept. The attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. have experience helping injured motorists make successful claims for pain and suffering after a New York car accident.
Despite the rebuttal presumption of negligence, rear end accidents can still get complex. If you have been injured in a rear end accident and are seeking help from an experienced personal injury attorney, please do not hesitate to contact William Mattar P.C. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve maximum compensation based on the unique circumstances of your case. Contact us by filling out our contact form, or by calling (844) 444-4444.