DRIVER/OWNER OF THE MIDDLE VEHICLE IN THIS CHAIN-REACTION REAR-END TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CASE IS NOT LIABLE (SECOND DEPT).
The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the summary judgment motion by the driver/owner of the middle vehicle in this chain-reaction accident should have been granted. The rear-most driver pushed the stopped middle vehicle into the plaintiff’s vehicle:
“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” … . Bardizbanian v Bhuiyan, 2020 NY Slip Op 01897, Second Dept 3-18-20