When a Car Strikes a Dozen People in Brooklyn

When a Car Strikes a Dozen People in Brooklyn

Source: nypost.com

Picture this ─ a bustling city street, alive with activity when chaos strikes—a van collides with multiple cars, leaving considerable damage in its wake.

This nightmare came true in January of this year when a multi-vehicle accident happened because a van driver struck several cars in Brooklyn. When law enforcement got to the scene, they found 15 victims with injuries. In situations where there are several victims who would have the same claim against the same defendant, they can group together to file a class action lawsuit.

This is mostly for efficiency purposes. During a class action lawsuit or any claim based on negligence, anticipating the defendant’s possible use of a comparative fault defense will be important so victims don’t miss out on crucial damages.

Bedlam in Brooklyn ─ Multi-Car Crash Chaos

Source: nytimes.com

When a van crashed into multiple moving vehicles on Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn on January 30 earlier this year, it started a chain-reaction accident, hurting several victims.

When the dust settled, and police officers arrived, they noted at least ten vehicles involved in the accident. At least 15 people were injured, three of whom suffered serious injuries that were thankfully not life-threatening. No arrests were made at the scene.

These types of accidents are typically chaotic since emergency medical professionals might have to treat numerous victims at the scene and police officers must speak to everyone involved, which could take time.

Leaving the scene of a multi-car accident, like the one in Brooklyn, could be disastrous for victims. Make sure police officers note you as a victim in their report and tell them about any injuries you sustained.

While the true damage from this recent accident and whether or not litigation will arise from it remains to be seen, as time goes on, more information could come out about the event that enables victims to sue for damages. This is often the case when multi-car accidents happen, as law enforcement and victims’ lawyers might need time to sift through the huge amounts of information and evidence.

Schooling a Negligent Driver with a Class Action Lawsuit

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When one person’s negligent act hurts many, the victims might join together to bring a class action lawsuit. There is strength in numbers, and standing alongside others with similar experiences to yours could help your case in more ways than one.

Class action lawsuits can resolve matters involving several victims more efficiently than if each victim filed their own claim against the same defendant. To do this, one or more victims will act as the class representative on behalf of the other victims. The victims’ Brooklyn car accident lawyer would then file a motion for class certification for the court to approve the class of victims.

Generally, there has to be a pretty substantial number of victims for the court to approve them as a class. For example, in the case of the Brooklyn multi-car accident mentioned above, the fact that 15 people were injured might mean the class would have too few victims for approval.

Once the court certifies a class, everyone in that class is included in the claim unless they choose to opt out of the lawsuit.

Combating Comparative Fault Defenses in Multi-Car Accident Claims

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When one driver is liable for several victims’ damages, they might try anything in their power to avoid paying them what they’re due.

A comparative fault defense is one of the most common defenses that negligent drivers employ. Under C.V.P. Law § 1411, a plaintiff will recover fewer damages if they contribute to a crash. Multi-car accidents and chain-reaction crashes are complicated, and it might not be clear if several parties contributed to the accident. The important thing here is making sure the defendant does not successfully argue that you acted negligently.

Your lawyer can do several things to combat a comparative fault defense, namely investigating the accident further.

For example, interviewing eyewitnesses and asking them what they saw might lead to statements we can use as evidence in your claim. On top of that, enlisting an accident reconstruction expert might be necessary, especially if the reason for the crash is unclear. This type of expert can review the property damage to all involved vehicles and other evidence from the scene to determine its root cause.

Additional evidence, like photos from the scene or videos from nearby surveillance cameras, can also undermine arguments that you contributed to a multi-car accident.

Seeing if You Can Sue for Serious Injuries

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Even if an accident looks bad because multiple cars were involved, the damage has actually to be bad for victims to sue in Brooklyn.

That’s because New York is a no-fault state. Victims can only sue if they sustain serious injuries covered under I.S.C. Law § 5102(d). So, in the recent multi-vehicle crash in Brooklyn, only the three victims with suspected serious injuries would likely be able to sue.

To see if you can sue for your injuries, your lawyer will compare your medical records to the various injuries New York deems serious enough to warrant litigation. These include injuries that cause death, dismemberment, serious disfigurement, and fractures, among others.

The other victims might have to file a claim with their personal injury protection insurance.

If you can sue for your injuries, make sure you do so before the statute of limitations, which would be three years from the date of the crash in New York.

Since only victims with certain injuries are allowed to file car accident lawsuits in New York, it’s massively important for victims to get immediate medical attention. Wait to get treatment, and you could have a hard time connecting the defendant’s negligence to your injuries.

While New York specifically notes certain injuries as worthy of litigation, like dismemberment, significant disfigurement, and loss of a fetus, it gives victims some leeway. For example, any non-permanent injury that substantially impacts a victim’s life for at least 90 of the first 180 days after an accident is cause to sue.

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