Vehicle Itself Must Be The Proximate Cause Of Injures For No Fault Law To Apply

In Cividanes v. City of N.Y., 2012 NY Slip Op 02179, plaintiff was allegedly injured when she stepped into a hole and fell after alighting from a bus owned and operated by the City defendants. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s injuries did not meet the “serious injury” requirement of No-Fault Law. In affirming the lower court’s denial of the motion, the First Department held that No-Fault Insurance Law only applies if the vehicle is the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries. Here, plaintiff’s accident did not occur because of the bus, but rather, occurred outside the bus. Thus, the court held that: (1) the accident did not arise out of the “inherent nature” of the bus;  (2) the accident did not arise within the “natural territorial limits” of the bus, as plaintiff fell on the street; and, (3) the bus itself was not the instrumentality that produced the alleged injury. As a result, plaintiff did not have to meet the “serious injury” threshold requirements, thus limiting a defendants ability to succeed on a threshold summary judgment motion where the vehicle in question was not the specific cause of the accident, but still seemingly related to the accident.