The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant Daley’s motion for summary judgment in this traffic accident case should have been granted. Plaintiff collided with defendant Bernstein’s car which caused plaintiff’s car to enter Daley’s oncoming lane of traffic:
“A defendant moving for summary judgment in a negligence action has the burden of establishing, prima facie, that he or she was not at fault in the happening of the subject accident”… There can be more than one proximate cause of an accident … , and “[g]enerally, it is for the trier of fact to determine the issue of proximate cause” … . “However, the issue of proximate cause may be decided as a matter of law where only one conclusion may be drawn from the established facts” … .
In support of his motion, Daley submitted evidence showing that the plaintiff’s vehicle and Bernstein’s vehicle collided in the plaintiff’s lane of travel in the subject intersection, which caused the plaintiff to lose control of his vehicle and cross over into Daley’s lane of travel, i.e., the opposite oncoming lane of traffic, and thereby caused the collision with Daley’s vehicle. While a driver who has the right-of-way has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid a collision … , a driver such as Daley who has the right-of-way and only seconds to react to a vehicle which has failed to yield, is not negligent for failing to avoid the collision … . The evidence submitted on Daley’s motion established that his actions were not a proximate cause of that collision … . Contrary to the contentions of the plaintiff and Bernstein, there was no evidence submitted on Daley’s motion tending to show that Daley operated his vehicle improperly or engaged in conduct which helped bring about the collision between his vehicle and the plaintiff’s vehicle, or the previous collision between the plaintiff’s vehicle and Bernstein’s vehicle … . Thus, Daley established his prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that he was not at fault in the happening of the subject accident. Victor v Daley, 2017 NY Slip Op 04315, 2nd Dept 5-31-17
NEGLIGENCE (TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, DEFENDANT, WHO COLLIDED WITH PLAINTIFF AFTER PLAINTIFF CROSSED INTO DEFENDANT’S ONCOMING LANE OF TRAFFIC, WAS ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT, SUPREME COURT REVERSED)/TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS (DEFENDANT, WHO COLLIDED WITH PLAINTIFF AFTER PLAINTIFF CROSSED INTO DEFENDANT’S ONCOMING LANE OF TRAFFIC, WAS ENTITLED TO SUMMARY JUDGMENT, SUPREME COURT REVERSED)