A doctor and his wife from Manhattan, riding in their Jeep were stopped at an intersection where they were in line to turn left. As they were waiting for the light, a police car came from the opposite direction. It was travelling at a high speed and when it reached the intersection, the police car skidded and started spinning.
It was the doctor’s wife who first saw the spinning police car. By the time they saw the spinning police car, it was too late to get out of its way. The police car hit the doctor’s Jeep on its left front side. The police car hit the Jeep with such force and momentum that the Jeep started spinning.
The doctor and his wife sustained injuries for which they were hospitalized and rendered unable to work. The police officer who was driving the police car was also injured. He did not have any memory of the car accident because of the head trauma which he suffered.
The other Westchester motorists who were then stopped at the intersection gave their testimonies. They differed as to the speed at which the police car was travelling. They were all consistent in saying that the police car did not have its lights or sirens on.
A police officer testified saying that he had heard a dispatch on the police radio that a burglary was reported and the police officer whose car spun out of control had responded that he was going to the scene of the burglary. The police officer claimed that it was while the police officer was travelling to respond to the burglary that his police car spun out of control.
The doctor and his wife sued the county, the police department and the police officer whose car had spun out of control. They claimed damages for the injuries they sustained consequent to the car accident. They also sued for lost earnings.
The defendants moved for summary judgment asking for the dismissal of the complaint. They claim that the police officer cannot be faulted for speeding on the road as he was responding to an emergency. He also cannot be held accountable for making a wrong choice which leads to injury. A person who is involved in an emergency situation which was not of his own doing cannot be made liable for damages caused by a wrong choice he has made during the emergency.
The doctor and his wife also filed a motion for summary judgment asking that damages be awarded to them for the failure of the police officer to act responsibly as he was driving the police car. Even if the police officer had no reckless intent, still an injury was caused and these must be compensated. There was no negligence committed by the doctor and his wife at the time of the accident as they were stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green so that they can make a turn.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the motions for summary judgment filed by both the parties should be granted.
The Court held that the doctor and his wife are entitled to summary judgment. Responding to a police emergency cannot be a viable defence against the claim for damages. The Court held that when the doctor and his wife filed the motion for summary judgment, they admitted all the allegations in the complaint and in the answer of the defendants. Given all the factual allegations, there was no evidence that the doctor and his wife were negligent in any manner. There was no evidence that they contributed to the damage caused to them. Their motion for summary judgment should be granted.
The motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants must be denied for there are material issues of fact that have yet to be tried. A jury has to make a finding whether the police officer acted with due regard for the safety of all persons; or whether or not he acted in reckless disregard of the safety of others. There is also the question as to whether or not the police officer operated his vehicle with caution. These material facts have yet to be established.
Are you like the doctor in this case? You were also stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green so that you can make a turn and without warning you were hit by another car coming from the opposite direction? If you are thinking of filing a suit in damages, consult first with a Nassau Car Accident lawyer. A Nassau Car Accident attorney can help you piece together the facts and the events of the accidents so that they can be presented intelligibly in court. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Nassau Car Accident lawyers are willing to represent you. They are willing to argue in your behalf. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today. Better yet, visit their offices and speak with their Nassau Car Accident attorneys.