On November 6, 2009, at around 11:30am, a car had stopped at a red light at the corner of 86th Street and 7th Avenue in Brooklyn. The car had stopped for around ten seconds when it was hit from the rear end by a van owned by a private company and driven by one of its employees. As a result of the rear-end collision, the driver of the car sustained a shoulder injury which had to be surgically repaired twice.
The defendant in his deposition claimed that it was raining on that day and hour when the car accident occurred. He also claims that the car accident was not really a rear-end collision but that the van tried to swerve to avoid hitting the car in front of him. He claims to have succeeded in that only the end of the van’s bumper hit the end of the car’s bumper. The defendant also claims that the car stopped abruptly in front of him which made it impossible for him to stop in time and avoid hitting the car in front of him.
These allegations of the defendant in his examination before trial were never made part of the police report accomplished by the police officers who responded at the car accident scene. These allegations were also never contained in the report filed by the employee when he explained the accident to his employer. The car owner points out that the police report clearly showed that the van hit the car squarely in the rear.
For these reasons, the car owner filed a motion for summary judgment. He asserts that there are no material issues of fact that still need to be tried before a jury. He also asserts that his claims for damages arising from the injury sustained in the car accident be granted.
The defendant van owner opposed the summary judgment prayed for by the car owner. He claims that the van stopped behind the car when the light turned red. But then when the light turned green the car started to move but abruptly stopped. This was when the collision took place.
The only question before the Court in Queens is whether or not the car owner’s motion for summary judgment should be granted.
The Court held that there are no issues of material fact that must still be tried before a jury. The Court pointed out that a vehicle in the rear is duty bound to keep a safe distance from the car in front of it. The car in the rear must maintain a rate of speed and control over his vehicle so as not to hit the vehicle in front.
The Court appreciated the fact that the car was already stopped at the red light when the van hit it from behind. When a car accident involves a vehicle hitting a parked or stopped vehicle from behind, an inference arises that the vehicle in the rear which bumped the stopped car is the vehicle at fault.
The law presumes that the bumping vehicle was negligent. A mere allegation that the parked car “suddenly” or “abruptly” stopped cannot defeat the presumption of negligence. This is because the law impose a duty on every car and car driver to maintain sufficient distance between his car and the car in front of him to give allowances for such sudden stops.
For the failure of the van owner to prove that there are still issues of material fact that need to be tried before a jury, the Court granted the motion for summary judgment filed by the car owner.
Were you involved in a car accident where you were rear-ended by another car even you were already stopped or parked? Before you file a case for damages, you need to consult with a Nassau Car Accident Lawyer. A Nassau Car Accident attorney can give you advice as to the inference of negligence available under the law for you. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Nassau Car Accident lawyers are available for consultation. The Nassau Car Accident attorneys at Stephen Bilkis and Associates are willing to represent you. Come and visit their offices today.