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Drivers Have Duty to Yield to Pedestrians in Cross Walks Despite Driver’s Green Light (NY)

June 24, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Perez-v.-Bobcar-Media-LLC.pdf">Perez v. Bobcar Media LLC</a> and Benny M. Cohen</em>, the Kings County Supreme Court of New York confirmed that a driver of a motor-vehicle has a statutory duty to use due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, including yielding to the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk despite a driver’s green light. Both parties following discovery moved for summary judgment: the defendant on the grounds that plaintiff’s injuries failed to satisfy the “serious injury” threshold required under New York insurance law, and the plaintiff on the grounds of defendant’s liability.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Confronted with plaintiff’s and defendant’s competing medical experts, the Court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment because defendant’s medical expert’s statements were conclusory, claiming plaintiff’s injuries were a result of a degenerative disease despite plaintiff, a 24-year-old, never having such symptoms pre-accident.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The New York Supreme Court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability upon finding that plaintiff was lawfully walking in the cross-walk when defendant attempted to make a left turn, failed to yield to plaintiff, striking him. Defendant’s failure to yield was a violation of New York Traffic and Vehicle Law rendering defendant strictly liable. Moreover, defendant had a common law duty to exercise care “to see that which he should have seen through the proper use of his senses.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The takeaway of this decision serves as a reminder that a New York driver’s violation of a Vehicle and Traffic law holds an individual strictly liable, meaning regardless of culpability, a defendant will still be on the hook for damages.</p>
Thanks to Alexa Schimp for her contribution to this post. Please contact <a href="mailto:Haquino@wcmlaw.com">Heather Aquin</a>o with any questions.

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