A man drove to the house of a friend whom he was supposed to pick up. When he got to his friend’s house, he left the car engine running with the key in the ignition to ring the doorbell and alert his friend that he had already arrived to pick him up. While he was in the house, a man stole the car that was parked in the driveway. The thief took the car and drove off at such a high speed.
In the meantime another man was stopped at an intersection. He was waiting for the light to turn green so that he can make a left turn. As he was waiting for the traffic signal, the thief was driving from the same direction at such a high speed. The thief lost control of the He car and hit the car that was stopped at the intersection.
The impact of the stolen car hitting the stopped car was so great that the driver of the parked car lost consciousness while still inside his car. When the parked car was struck from behind by the stolen car, the parked car also careened off and hit another car.
The man who lost consciousness because his parked car was struck by the stolen car from behind filed a suit in damages. He claimed damages for the personal injury he sustained consequent to the car accident. He sued the owner of the car and the driver of the car from whom the car was stolen. He also included in the suit the thief who stole the car and drove it, the same thief who struck his car from behind. He also sued the insurer of the stolen car.
After the owner of the car and the driver of the car filed their answers, the driver of the parked car filed a motion for summary judgment. He claims that he was not negligent at the time of the car accident. He was sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to turn green at an intersection when he was struck from behind. He asserts his entitlement to a summary judgment and for an award of damages for the personal injury he sustained.
The owner of the car from Manhattan and the Long Island driver from whom the car was stolen filed a motion for summary judgment asking that the complaint against them be dismissed. They assert that they can only be made liable for the personal injury sustained by the driver of the parked car if they had actual control over the car at the time of the car accident. Since the car was stolen from them, they had no control over the car or over the thief who was driving the stolen car. They cannot be made responsible in damages for the personal injury sustained by the driver of the parked car.
The driver of the parked car opposed the summary judgment filed by the owner of the car and the driver of it. He claims that the owner of the car and the driver were negligent in that they left the car running in a driveway with the key in the ignition rendering it easy for the thief to steal the car.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the motions for summary judgment should be granted.
The Court held that the motion for summary judgment filed by the owner of the car and the authorized driver should be granted. They had no control over the car at the time of the car accident as the car had been stolen from them. They cannot be held liable for the damages caused by the thief when he recklessly operated the car. They are likewise not negligent when they left the car running in the engine. The law requires drivers to turn off their engine and lock the ignition only when parked in a public parking area. The car here was parked in the driveway of a house.
The Court also held that the motion for summary judgment filed by the driver of the parked car should be granted. He was not negligent when he was stopped in traffic. He was hit from behind by a person who acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Are you like this man who was parked at an intersection waiting for the traffic light to turn green when he was struck by another car from behind? Before you file a suit in damages, it would serve you well to first consult with a Nassau Car Accident lawyer. A Nassau Car Accident attorney can help you gather evidence and present it in court. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Nassau Car Accident lawyers are ready to help you argue your case in court. Speak to any of the Nassau Car Accident attorneys from Stephen Bilkis today at any of their offices in the New York area.