The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in this rear-end traffic accident cause should have been granted. Defendant’s allegation plaintiff stopped suddenly did not raise a question of fact:
It is well established that a rear-end collision with a slowing or stopping vehicle establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the operator of the rear vehicle … .
… [D]efendant failed to provide a nonnegligent explanation for the accident … . Defendant failed to establish that she maintained a safe following distance (see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1129[a] … ) and that any repeated braking by plaintiff was not foreseeable due to the existence of the construction zone and 15 mile per hour speed limit. Defendant failed to establish that given the circumstances she could have “reasonably expected that traffic would continue unimpeded” … . While defendant claims that plaintiff made a sudden stop, a “claim by the rear driver that the lead vehicle made a sudden stop, standing alone, is insufficient to rebut the presumption of negligence” … . Ahmad v Behal, 2023 NY Slip Op 06196, First Dept 11-30-23
Practice Point: In a rear-end collision case, alleging the car in front stopped suddenly does not defeat the presumption that the rear driver was negligent.