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Our New York Truck Accident Lawyers- Win Truck Accident Case

March 29, 2018

Our New York truck accident lawyers won a major victory  and was granted summary judgment, in the New York Supreme Court. To win summary judgment on liability, an injured party in a car accident case must demonstrate that the defendant was negligent and that the plaintiff was free of comparative fault.

In this case, one defendant (“AH”) was driving home in the car when he noticed that his gas light was on. Although AH passed a gas station, he did not stop, and continued on his way. Eventually, his car began to slow down and he switched from the left lane on I-287 to the center lane, intending to get on the right shoulder. Because he was unable to make it there, AH stopped his car in the middle of the center lane, turned on his hazard lights, and got out of the car. Another defendant was driving a box truck, in the center lane when he saw about 75 yard ahead, AH’s stopped car. The driver of the box truck decided to try to get out of that lane after he had gone about another 25 yards, slowing down to about 45 miles per hour, having seen two other cars ahead of him switch lanes to avoid AH’S car. There was no dispute that plaintiff was traveling in the right lane at the time of collision. The Defendants in this case tried to fault the Plaintiff for not seeing the broken down car.   The Court agreed with our New York truck accident attorney’s argument that the  defendants conveniently forgot that plaintiff was in the right lane, whereas AH’s car was in the center lane.

Eventhough the Court had to view  the evidence in the light most favorable to the defendants, on a motion for summary judgment, the Court nevertheless found that our truck accident attorneys proved that the combined actions of the defendants combined to cause the accident and that they were both negligent. The New York Supreme Court began its analysis, with the standard for summary judgment in New York,  that to prima facie entitlement to judgement as a matter of law on the issue of liability, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant was negligent and that plaintiff was free of comparative fault. Our New York truck accident lawyers proved that the driver of the box truck violated the law by making an unsafe lane change. New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.  The New York Supreme Court held that the driver of the box truck failed to comply with the law that required a safe lane change.

The Court rejected the arguments of both drivers that they could not be held liable becuase of the emergency doctrin. The emergency doctrine also holds that “when an actor is faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance which leaves little or no time for thought, deliberation or consideration, or causes the actor to be reasonably so disturbed that the actor must make a speedy decision without weighing alternative courses of conduct, the actor may not be negligent if the actions taken are reasonable and prudent in the emergency context and if an actor was confronted by a sudden and unforeseen occurrence not of the actor’s own making. The Court found that the driver of the box truck had enough time to slow down as soon as he spotted AH’S car 75 yards ahead. Our New York truck accident lawyers successfully argued that the driver of the box truck could have either attempted to merge over, or stopped, when he noticed the two cars ahead of him already merging around AH’ car. The Court therefore disagreed with Defendants arguments and states that first, AH was the cause of the “emergency,” by failing to stop for gas and driving in the left lane, rather than the right lane. Also AH could have pulled over onto the shoulder when he felt his car start to falter. Nor was the driver of the box truck  free from blame as he could have taken necessary precaution as explained above.

The New York Supreme Court also recognized that there was no evidence that demonstrates that plaintiff contributed in any way to this accident, as he was simply driving in his lane, with the right of way. Accordingly the Court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgement on liability. Therefore, in this case plaintiff has established his prima facie burden with respect to liability.  Our New York truck accident lawyers, will continue to fight for people who sustain personal injuries in truck accidents in New York.


The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph