Sometimes an injured person does not have sufficient information to determine with certainty who is at fault in an accident before filing suit. Often in automobile accidents, more than one person bears some amount of fault. If, during litigation, the plaintiff learns information that shows that one of the defendants was not negligent, the plaintiff may find that his or her interests align with that defendant.
Such appears to be the case in Daniels v. Masada III Car & Limo Serv. Corp. In this case, the plaintiff was injured as the passenger in a vehicle owned by a car service. He sued the vehicle driver, the vehicle owner, and the driver of the other vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle, Ms. Price, filed a cross claim against the other defendants.
The testimony of the plaintiff and defendant Price established that the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was traveling in the leftmost of three lanes approaching an intersection. Ms. Price was driving in the same direction in the center lane. She testified that just before the collision, she saw the defendant driver leave the left lane and try to make a right turn in front of her.
Ms. Price moved for summary judgment as to liability. The court looked to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1128. This statute provides that when there are multiple lanes, a vehicle is to be driven within a single lane to the extent practicable and not moved from that lane until the driver determines that he or she can do so safely. Additionally, the statute provides that a driver proceeding along the road may not cross official markings that indicate that doing so would be especially hazardous.
Ms. Price showed that she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law by showing the car service driver had left his lane when it was not safe to do so. Additionally, the court found that she was free from comparative fault. In this case, the plaintiff did not oppose Ms. Price’s motion. Although the other defendants did oppose the motion, they based their opposition on the plaintiff’s testimony. The court found, however, that the plaintiff’s testimony was consistent with that of Ms. Price, and therefore it did not raise an issue of fact.
Although one defendant was granted summary judgment, the plaintiff’s claims against the other defendants still remain. Furthermore, this ruling supports those claims. The evidence presented by Ms. Price supported the plaintiff’s claims against the other parties.
If you have been seriously hurt in an automobile accident, an experienced New York automobile accident attorney can help identify all of the potential defendants, while understanding that it may be in your best interest to stop pursuing a particular potential defendant if the facts support someone else being liable.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Daniels v Masada III Car & Limo Serv. Corp. February 10, 2016, Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County
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