In many rear-end accident scenarios, the driver of the rear vehicle is often the one determined to be legally liable and the driver of the lead vehicle may be the person who seeks compensation for his injuries. In some specific circumstances, though, you may be entitled to a judgment finding the other driver negligent and liable, and yourself entitled to an award of damages, even if you were the driver of the rear vehicle. There are various situations in which a rear driver can be mostly or even completely free of negligence in causing the rear-end accident. Before you assume you have no case because you were the rear driver, be sure you have first consulted with an experienced New York injury attorney.
A recent case that involved this type of scenario happened in Duchess County. The fact pattern was familiar. Vehicle A came to a stop. Vehicle B didn’t, and thus rear-ended Vehicle A. The accident caused one of the drivers to suffer injuries. The person who was hurt and sued was H.M., the driver of the rear vehicle. The driver of the front vehicle, R.A., asserted that she had intended to make a left turn and, in order to do so, had gradually come to a complete stop and had turned on her blinker as she waited for traffic to clear. H.M. asserted that R.A. didn’t signal and that she stopped very abruptly.
In a case like this, one of the important hurdles for you to clear is to defeat the defense’s request for summary judgment, which would result in your case being thrown out before you even make it to trial. In this case, the Appellate Division determined that H.M. had enough to take his case to trial. The state route along which R.A. and H.M. were traveling was one in which drivers “could reasonably expect that traffic would continue unimpeded.” When you’re in those conditions and the car in front of you stops so abruptly that you can’t avoid a collision, even utilizing a safe following distance and keeping a proper lookout, then you may be entitled to a ruling that holds the lead driver liable.
Last year, the Appellate Division made a similar ruling in favor of another injured rear driver in a New York City case. In that litigation, a truck had come to a very sudden and complete stop on the Major Deegan Expressway after it hit an overpass. The driver behind the truck crashed into the truck and sued. The Appellate Division ruled that the rear driver could proceed to trial. Based on the plaintiff’s allegations, the rear driver in that case, like the rear driver in the recent Duchess County case, had a right to expect that traffic would continue to flow. If the rear driver could prove what he alleged, then he had a viable claim for negligence by the front driver.
For helpful advice and strong advocacy to get you the results you need, reach out to the knowledgeable Queens injury attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our team has been aiding people injured in auto accidents in obtaining fair compensation for 40 years. To put our experience to work for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified attorneys. Contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
A Blocked Lane Change Doesn’t Allow a Rear Driver in New York to Escape Liability, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 19, 2018
Rear-Ending Another Vehicle Doesn’t Always Make an Accident in New York Your Fault… Here’s an Example, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 21, 2017
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