The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the middle driver, Budziak, in this three-car rear-end collision case was entitled to summary judgment:
“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 to rebut the inference of negligence” … . ” Evidence that a vehicle was struck in the rear and propelled into the vehicle in front of it may provide a sufficient non-negligent explanation'” … . Thus, “[i]n a chain collision accident, the operator of the middle vehicle may establish prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that the middle vehicle was properly stopped behind the lead vehicle when it was struck from behind by the rear vehicle and propelled into the lead vehicle” … .
Here, Budziak established her prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that she was stopped in traffic behind Hakimi’s vehicle when her vehicle was struck in the rear by Barnett’s vehicle and propelled into Hakimi’s vehicle … . Mihalatos v Barnett, 2019 NY Slip Op 06082, Second Dept 8-7-19