Published on:

What It Takes To Obtain a Summary Judgment on Liability in Your New York Intersection Crash Case

In any case in which you seek damages for the injuries you suffered, there are varying degrees of success and multiple ways to arrive at a favorable judgment. Securing a summary judgment on the issue of liability means avoiding the time, expense, and uncertainties inherent in litigating an issue before a jury. For one woman driving in upstate New York, her favorable outcome on appeal meant that she was entitled to avoid exactly these things, since her case was sufficient to establish that the other driver was liable as a matter of law.

The case involved a two-car crash west of Syracuse. The plaintiff was traveling southbound; the defendant was headed northbound on the same road as the plaintiff. As the two cars neared an intersection, each driver had a green light. According to the defendant, the plaintiff put on her turn signal, and, seeing that turn signal, he decided to execute a left-hand turn. The plaintiff drove straight through the intersection, and the two cars collided.

In the wake of the accident, the defendant was charged in relation to the accident, and he pled guilty to violating Section 1111 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. The plaintiff sued for her injuries. The plaintiff also asked the trial court to enter an order granting summary judgment in her favor on the issue of the defendant’s liability. The trial judge denied the motion.

The plaintiff appealed that decision and won her appeal. In a case in which you’re seeking summary judgment on the issue of a defendant driver’s liability, you need several things to win. In this case, the defendant had already pled guilty to a violation of a statute (Section 1111 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law). That plea, by itself, wasn’t enough, though. New York courts have long held that a defendant’s pleading guilty to the infraction of failing to yield the right of way, standing alone, is not enough to establish liability as a matter of law.

In this case, however, the plaintiff did have more. In addition to the defendant’s guilty plea, she had her own deposition testimony, in which she testified that she was traveling straight through the intersection and that the defendant hit her as he tried to turn left. These things, put together, were enough to prove, as a matter of law, that the defendant was negligent because he tried to “make a left turn when it was not reasonably safe to do so.”

The defendant, in his defense, had argued about the plaintiff’s conduct. According to the defendant, the plaintiff initiated her turn signal and then drove straight through the intersection. Even if that allegation was proven to be true, it did not change the analysis of the defendant’s liability for negligence. Section 1111 requires a turning driver to yield the right of way to all vehicles in the intersection. Regardless of the status of the plaintiff’s turn signal, the defendant did not do this, making him negligent and liable as a matter of law.

The hardworking Queens car accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been working with injured people for many years to help as they pursue their cases and compensation for the harm they’ve suffered. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys to discuss the details of your case and how we can help you, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Right-of-Way in Left-Hand Turn Accidents Isn’t Always the Sole Source of Determining Fault in Your New York Injury Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 26, 2016

The Impact of Right of Way on Your New York Auto Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 18, 2016

Contact Information