If you are involved in an auto accident in New York and suffer injuries as a result, there are certain factual things that have the potential to make your case more challenging. If you were driving the rear vehicle in a rear-end collision, that has the potential to work against you. If you were in a collision with a vehicle that was performing work on a road at the time of the accident, this can also possibly weaken your case. None of these things are, by themselves, automatically fatal to your case, however. You still have options for achieving a successful outcome. Be sure to talk to a knowledgeable New York injury attorney about your case.
As an example, look at the case of P.C. P.C., while on his way to church one February morning. encountered a most unexpected sight. As he crested over a hill, he found a snow plow in his lane, driving in reverse. P.C. braked but could not avoid colliding with the plow. The snow plow driver continued backing up for 3-4 seconds after the crash before he realized he’d hit someone.
P.C. sued the plow driver and the town for whom the driver was working. P.C.’s case offers a couple of important elements of New York law related to auto accident injuries. Generally, in a situation where two vehicles collide with the rear of the front vehicle impacting the front of the rear vehicle, then the rear driver is the person who will be determined to be legally at fault in causing the accident. There are, however, certain situations in which a rear driver will not be liable in this type of accident. If the rear driver proves that he encountered an unexpected event or that the front driver engaged in negligent driving, and that the rear driver did everything he could to avoid the accident, then the rear driver may be free from liability. Recently, the New York courts ruled in favor of a rear driver who crashed into the back of a truck that had struck an overpass and had, as a result, stopped abruptly in the middle of a highway. In P.C.’s case, the front vehicle was driving in reverse in a travel lane, and P.C. had evidence that he did everything he could to avoid the crash.
A second noteworthy element of P.C.’s case was the fact that the vehicle involved was a snow plow working for the town. Section 1103(b) of the Vehicle and Traffic Code generally exempts vehicles “engaged in work on a highway.” The snow plow that hit P.C. was definitely working on the highway. The law, however, allows you to proceed against this type of vehicle, even if the driver was actively engaged in road work, if the driver’s operation of the vehicle met the legal standard for recklessness. In this type of situation, recklessness means the driver “acts in conscious disregard of a known or obvious risk that is so great as to make it highly probable that harm will follow.”
P.C. had proof that the plow driver was an experienced operator but that, in spite of this experience, he drove his plow “in reverse, in front of a hill that obscured his view of approaching traffic on a narrow, two-lane country road with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour, without first sounding his horn in warning.” The Appellate Division concluded that this represented a credible case of recklessness, meaning that P.C.’s complaint against the town and the driver was reinstated.
For the helpful advice and aggressive representation you need, consult the skilled Queens injury attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman. Our firm has been aiding injured people in getting fair compensation for the harm they suffered for four decades. 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:
Injured New York Driver and Passenger Win Case to Hold Town Dump Truck Driver Responsible for Rear-End Accident, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Feb. 8, 2018
Overcoming Unique Challenges in Order to Pursue Your New York Truck Accident Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Aug. 22, 2017