The Third Department determined plaintiff had raised a question of fact about a nonnegligent explanation for his colliding with the rear of defendant’s car. Plaintiff was riding a motorcycle when the car in front of him (driven by Daunais) suddenly swerved to the left and plaintiff struck the defendant’s car, which was in front of Daunais. Daunais alleged the defendant suddenly stopped dead in the road and Daunais swerved to the left to avoid colliding with defendant:
It is undisputed that defendant has satisfied his initial summary judgment burden inasmuch as “[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” … . The burden therefore shifted to plaintiff to demonstrate a nonnegligent explanation for the collision … . As relevant here, “[e]vidence that the vehicle which was rear-ended came to a sudden and abrupt stop will defeat summary judgment” … .
Although defendant contends that he was attempting to turn into a driveway when plaintiff rear-ended him and that he had appropriately slowed his vehicle and activated his turn signal prior to turning, Daunais contradicted him, testifying that defendant “stopped dead in the road.” Daunais averred that he then “took a chance” and swerved left into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid colliding with defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff explained that he was unable to do the same because another motorcyclist was by then blocking him from safely veering to the left. Other motorcyclists traveling with plaintiff also testified that they observed Daunais’ van swerve into the oncoming traffic lane to reveal defendant’s vehicle stopped in the road. This proof, when viewed “in the light most favorable to plaintiff and affording him the benefit of every favorable inference”… , demonstrates a triable issue of fact as to whether a nonnegligent explanation exists for the rear-end collision … . Bell v Brown, 2017 NY Slip Op 05898, 3rd Dept 7-27-17
NEGLIGENCE (TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, REAR-END COLLISION, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THERE WAS A NONNEGLIGENT EXPLANATION FOR PLAINTIFF’S COLLIDING WITH THE REAR OF DEFENDANT’S CAR 3RD DEPT)/TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS (REAR-END COLLISION, QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THERE WAS A NONNEGLIGENT EXPLANATION FOR PLAINTIFF’S COLLIDING WITH THE REAR OF DEFENDANT’S CAR 3RD DEPT)/REAR-END COLLISION (QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER THERE WAS A NONNEGLIGENT EXPLANATION FOR PLAINTIFF’S COLLIDING WITH THE REAR OF DEFENDANT’S CAR 3RD DEPT)