In the context of a motor vehicle accident in NY, being struck in the rear entitles a plaintiff to summary judgment, absent a “non-negligent” explanation from the rear driver.
In Sayyed v. Murray, the 2nd Department further defined what constitutes a non-negligent explanation. The plaintiff was operating a 2007 Lincoln, and was stopped in the left lane on the Kosciusko Bridge, which connects Queens with Brooklyn. Defendant Murray rear-ended his vehicle. The plaintiff’s vehicle was completely stopped at the time, and the defendant’s testimony that the plaintiff had stopped short, amid stop-and-go traffic, was insufficient to raise a triable issue of fact.
Anyone who has ever taken the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway over the Kosciusko Bridge is well aware that, due to consistently poor traffic conditions, stopping for several seconds, usually several times, is practically guaranteed. While the Court elected not to make any snide BQE comments in its decision, it is not surprising that the defendant’s argument (i.e., stop-and-go traffic on the BQE was unforeseeable, ergo, plaintiff bears some liability) fell on deaf ears.
Now, had the defendant argued that traffic had been running smoothly on the BQE at the time of the collision, his attorney could find him or herself before the ethics committee… for soliciting perjury!
Special thanks to Brian Gibbons for his contribution.
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