The multitude of factors that come together to cause motor vehicle collisions
are infinite. In every instance, someone will get hurt. Injuries even
happen when the collision is “minor”. Those injuries can be
minimal, such as minor scrapes and bruising. Other injuries can be quite
severe, such as bone fractures, brain injuries, and even death.
Experienced Kingston, New York car accident attorneys know that the accident victim’s insurance coverage may not cover
all costs attributed to their injuries. Insurance will surely not cover
loses such as pain and suffering. So, determining whom to sue is an important
part of every car accident suit.
Of course, people injured in car accidents can sue the driver of the other
vehicle. But other people can be held liable too. If the offending motorist
was driving someone else’s vehicle, the owner can be liable too.
Employer’s can be held liable for accidents caused by their employees.
Even other people in the offending driver’s vehicle can be held
liable if they did something to contribute to the accident.
In addition to determining whom to sue, the experienced Kingston car accident
attorney will also look for facts and factors that will help the victim’s
chances at recovery. For example, if the offending driver was unlicensed
at the time of the accident, that driver will certainly look bad in court.
If the offending driver was ticketed and/or pled guilty to the ticket
charges, the victim can use such to his or her advantage when suing.
Suing the Vehicle Owner Instead of the Vehicle Driver
Not only can a car accident victim sue the offending driver, but the owner
of the vehicle can be sued too. The concept makes sense on its own, but
it is actually written into New York law. It is known as the permissive
use doctrine and it is located in
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 388.This law states, “every owner of a vehicle used or operated in this
state shall be liable and responsible for death or injuries to person
or property resulting from negligence in the use or operation of such
vehicle, in the business of such owner or otherwise, by any person using
or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of such
We all know that in order to legally drive a vehicle, the driver must be
licensed to drive. It is a law found in the New York Vehicle and Traffic
Law. However, driving without a valid license in and of itself will not
make the driver automatically liable for a car accident caused by that
driver. But if the driver’s license was suspended or revoked and
the driver got into a subsequent accident, liability could be automatic
if the accident was caused by the same things that led to the license
Employers’ Liability when Workers Cause a Vehicle Collision
Since you read the excerpt of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section
388 above, you know that employers can be liable for accidents caused
by their employees. Not only is it the law, but it is also based on the
concept of “respondeat superior;” the master will answer to
the negligent acts of his or her employees. Note that the employee must
have been working within the scope and course of his job when the
car accident happened in order for the employer to be held liable.
The Impact of a Traffic Ticket Guilty Plea on Civil Liability:
Drivers are sometimes ticketed when they are in a car accident. Pleading
guilty to a traffic violation will not automatically mean that the guilty
party is civilly liable for the injuries caused to others during the accident.
A guilty plea is possible evidence of negligence, but it is not negligence
per se. The offending driver will have a chance to explain him/herself
and the victim will be required to prove negligence.