In a rear-end collision case, the Second Department determined plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability should have been granted:
A rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle creates a prima facie case of negligence with respect to the operator of the moving vehicle and imposes a duty on that operator to rebut the inference of negligence by providing a nonnegligent explanation for the collision … . “A claim that the driver of the lead vehicle made a sudden stop, standing alone, is insufficient to rebut the presumption of negligence” … .
Here, the plaintiff established his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting evidence that the defendant’s vehicle struck his vehicle in the rear as the plaintiff’s vehicle was slowing down for traffic in front of it … . In opposition, the defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact. “[V]ehicle stops which are foreseeable under the prevailing traffic conditions, even if sudden and frequent, must be anticipated by the driver who follows, since he or she is under a duty to maintain a safe distance between his or her car and the car ahead” … . Robayo v Aghaabdul, 2013 NY slip Op 05889, 2nd Dept 9-18-13