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New York Car Accidents Rear End Collisions

January 19, 2010

As a New York City Car Accident Lawyer, and New York truck accident lawyer, Michael Joseph has handled car accident cases and truck accident cases in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. In any car accident case, you have to show prove both liability and a serious injury. This posting deals only with liability.

Michael Joseph is a New York car accident attorney who has won countless cases involving rear end collisions based on motion papers. As a general rule, in New York, a rear-end collision with a stopped vehicle creates a prima facie case of negligence against the operator of the following vehicle imposing a duty of explanation. A nonnegligent explanation for a car accident may overcome the inference of negligence. Evidence that the vehicle which was rear-ended came to a sudden and abrupt stop will defeat summary judgment. In multiple-car, chain-reaction accidents the courts have recognized that the operator of a vehicle which has come to a complete stop and is propelled into the vehicle in front of it as a result of being struck from behind is not negligent inasmuch as the operator’s actions cannot be said to be the proximate cause of the injuries resulting from the collision

A growing number of Courts have held that it is not a sufficient defense to claim that plaintiffs’ vehicle stopped short and have granted summary judgement even where there was a claim that the Plaintiff stopped short. Other Courts have carved out exceptions and held that where a defendant rear ends a slowly moving car, the impacted vehicle is entitled to summary judgement. The Courts have likewise held that where the defendant’s testimony fails to provide a non-negligent explanation for a rear end collision, but merely offers excuses which strongly suggest that the defendant failed to see what should be seen and to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances to avoid an accident, plaintiff is entitled to summary judgement.

Courts have also held that a wet roadway is not a sufficient defense to rebut the presumption of negligence from a New York car or truck accident involving a rear end collission because a driver is expected to drive at a sufficiently safe speed and to maintain enough distance between himself and cars ahead of him so as to avoid collisions with stopped vehicles, taking into account the weather and road conditions. In one noteable case the Court held that the Defendant did not offer any reason why, if the road were so slippery, plaintiffs were able to stop their own car safely when the car in front of them made a sudden U-turn. Thus a Defendant’s excuse that he applied his brakes and his vehicle skidded into the plaintiff because the road was wet, is not a sufficient excuse to rebut a presumption of negligence caused by a rear end collision.

Michael Joseph is a car accident lawyer with extensive experience in handling car accident cases in all of New York City, and the Westchester towns, including White Plains, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester, Bronxville, Elmsford and Mamaroneck.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph