The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment in this rear-end collision case. The court offered a clear, succinct explanation of the analytical criteria:
“When the driver of an automobile approaches another automobile from the rear, he or she is bound to maintain a reasonably safe rate of speed and control over his vehicle, and to exercise reasonable care to avoid colliding with the other vehicle” (… see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1129[a]…). A rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the operator of the rear vehicle, requiring that operator to come forward with evidence of a nonnegligent explanation for the collision in order to rebut the inference of negligence … . A nonnegligent explanation may include evidence of a mechanical failure, a sudden, unexplained stop of the vehicle ahead, an unavoidable skidding on wet pavement, or any other reasonable cause … .
Here, on his motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability, the plaintiff established his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting an affidavit in which he stated that his vehicle was stopped when it was struck in the rear… . In opposition, the defendant failed to submit evidence either denying the plaintiff’s allegations or offering a nonnegligent explanation for the collision … . Binkowitz v Kolb, 2016 NY Slip Op 00462, 2nd Dept 1-27-16
NEGLIGENCE (REAR-END COLLISIONS, ANALYTICAL CRITERIA)/REAR-END COLLISIONS (ANALYTICAL CRITERIA FOR LIABILITY)