Can You Sue Multiple Drivers for a Car Accident in New York?
Car accidents might involve one, two, or many more other vehicles in addition to your own. If more than one driver contributed to the accident, you can sue multiple drivers for your injuries.
Suing multiple defendants for a car accident is somewhat common, especially in multi-vehicle accidents. Generally, the same principles apply to cases involving one driver as to cases involving multiple drivers. We must show each defendant was negligent and that their negligence directly contributed to the accident. You might consider suing more than one other driver if you were injured in a multi-vehicle accident or pile-up. Determining whom to sue can be challenging with many drivers involved, and an attorney can help you. If you cannot locate all responsible parties for a lawsuit, you can still sue the ones you can find and hold them liable for the full extent of your damages.
Car accidents are already scary enough, but multi-car accidents or severe pile-ups can lead to devastating injuries. In such cases, our New York car accident lawyers can help you sue multiple drivers. For a free review of the case, call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.
How to Sue Multiple Drivers for a New York Car Accident
When filing your initial complaint to kick off the lawsuit, you must include the name and identifying information of the defendant. You must also serve notice of the lawsuit on the defendant so they have time to respond to your claims. The process is the same when multiple drivers are involved. Instead of only one defendant in your lawsuit, you can name several, and each must be served notice.
The complaint should detail how each driver was involved in the accident and how they contributed to the collision as a whole. No single driver needs to be solely responsible for all of them to be held liable. At least some evidence that each named defendant was negligent should be included.
Although several drivers might be responsible only partly for the crash, they can all be held liable. How much each driver must contribute to your damages award might vary. This issue might be determined after the trial, and our Bronx car accident lawyers can assist you.
Cases Where You Sue Multiple Drivers for a Car Accident in New York
Common cases involving multiple defendants include multi-vehicle crashes and pile-ups. Often, these kinds of accidents happen because the negligence of several drivers combines to cause the crash. For example, two vehicles might be speeding when one driver cuts off the other, causing them to swerve into you. Because they were both speeding and driving recklessly, both can be sued. Pile-ups happen similarly, and so many drivers cannot avoid the crash that vehicles pile up on top of each other.
While you can sue more than one driver for a car accident, filing the lawsuit can be tricky. New York is a no-fault insurance state, and drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover certain economic damages. As such, injured drivers typically file claims with their own PIP insurance and do not have to prove who is at fault for the accident.
According to I.S.C. Law § 5104(a), an injured driver can sue only if they experienced a “serious injury.” A serious injury is defined under I.S.C. Law § 5102(d) and includes the following injuries and conditions:
- Significant scarring
- Bone fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent limitation or loss of a limb, organ, or bodily system or function
- Any medically determined, non-permanent injury that prevents you from performing substantially all ordinary tasks for at least 90 days out of the 180 days following the accident
Accidents involving multiple vehicles, particularly pile-ups, tend to involve more severe injuries, and you might have an easier time meeting this legal threshold.
What Happens if I Cannot Find Drivers to Sue After a Car Accident in New York?
Defendants in car accident cases may be jointly and severally liable. This is a legal rule that means if multiple defendants are involved in a case, any one defendant can be sued and held liable for the entire accident. For example, if you were in an accident with 3 other drivers, but two of them fled the scene, you can still sue the remaining driver for the full extent of your damages even though they were not the only one to contribute to the crash.
This issue often comes up in hit and run accidents. Perhaps one driver remained on the scene while the other fled. Our Queens car accident attorneys can work with law enforcement to hopefully identify the other driver so they can be sued, but you might have to move forward with your lawsuit against the remaining driver in the meantime.
When to File a Lawsuit Against Multiple Drivers for a Car Accident in New York
Under C.V.P. Law § 214, you have 3 years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. This deadline applies to all the drivers you wish to sue. You might be unable to add new drivers to your lawsuit if the statute of limitations has expired.
Considering the complicated nature of multi-vehicle or pile-up accident cases, it is not unusual for injured drivers to come close to the above-mentioned deadline. In such cases, our Staten Island car accident lawyers can help you determine if the statute of limitations can be tolled.
Under C.V.P. law § 208(a), you can have the statute of limitations tolled if you cannot file the case because you are under 18 or have a mental disability that prevents you from filing. Generally, the statute of limitations is put on hold until these conditions resolve. This means you might have 3 years from the day you turn 18 or the day your disability subsides to file the case.
Tolling the statute might be necessary if you have difficulty tracking down all the defendants for your lawsuits. If your accident was quite large and involved numerous other drivers, it might take a long time to identify all the parties who should be held liable.
Contact Our New York Car Accident Lawyers for Help Today
You can name as many defendants in your car accident lawsuit as necessary. Our Long Island car accident lawyers can help you identify defendants and start your case. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.