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Emergency Car Crash Not Considered Negligent Driving

October 25, 2011

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In Ardila v. Cox,, (2011 NY Slip Op 07385) the plaintiff was driving eastbound on the highway when a car driving westbound swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with the plaintiff's vehicle. Defendant Balch was operating an oil tanker truck behind the plaintiff's vehicle. When he saw the cars collide, he applied the breaks and moved to the right. This caused him to crash into the plaintiff's vehicle.
Balch moved for summary judgment under the emergency doctrine, which states that a driver faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance which leaves no time for deliberation cannot be found negligent if his actions were reasonable and prudent. The Second Department held that a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction that suddenly crosses over into oncoming traffic is a classic emergency situation, implicating the emergency doctrine. Accordingly, the Court granted Balch's motion.
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Thanks to Georgia Stagias for her contribution to this post


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