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New York Court Discusses Negligence Per Se in the Context of Car Accidents

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic laws are designed to ensure that people can safely travel the roads and highways throughout the state. When people fail to comply with these laws, it often leads to accidents, and it may constitute negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law. Recently, a New York court discussed negligence per se in the context of a motorcycle collision, in a matter in which it ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. If you were hurt in a collision caused by a negligent driver, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer about what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was operating his motorcycle on a New York road when the defendant, who was approaching from the other direction, made a sudden left turn into the plaintiff’s path of travel. The plaintiff and defendant collided, and the plaintiff suffered significant injuries in the accident. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, asserting that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident and his subsequent harm. He then filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and asked the court to dismiss the defendant’s affirmative defenses. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Negligence Per Se in the Context of Car Accidents

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling and granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. In doing so, it explained that a violation of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic laws constitutes negligence as a matter of law. In other words, a person driving a vehicle with the right of way is entitled to presume that a motorist approaching from the other direction will yield the right of way in accordance with the law.

Further, drivers that have the right of way only have seconds to react to motorists that fail to yield and cannot be deemed comparatively negligent for failing to avoid a collision. In the subject case, the plaintiff offered a sworn affidavit and photographs of the accident site that established, prima facie, that the defendant’s conduct comprised negligence per se and proximately caused the collision. In response to the plaintiff’s motion, however, the defendant failed to demonstrate that a triable issue of fact existed. Thus, the court found that summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff was proper.

Talk to a Dedicated Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to accidents, as other motorists often fail to provide them with the clearance required under New York’s Vehicle and Traffic laws. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision, you may be owed compensation, and you should talk to an attorney. The dedicated Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and aid you in pursuing the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us by calling 833-200-2000 or by using our form online to set up a conference.

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