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What is Considered an Emergency? (NY)

June 18, 2021

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In<em> <a href="">Penaranda v. Tesoriero</a></em>, the Appellate Division, Second Department addressed whether the defendant - Gringhaus was entitled to summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint in a hit-in-the-rear motor vehicle accident.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Plaintiff alleged personal injuries in connection with a motor vehicle accident when the defendant - Tesoriero cross a double yellow line, entering the opposing lane of traffic when he struck plaintiff’s vehicle head on. This collision caused plaintiff’s vehicle to push backwards, colliding with a vehicle operated by defendant Gringhaus.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The court stated, "when an actor is faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance which leaves little or no time for thought, deliberation or consideration, or causes the actor to be reasonably so disturbed that the actor must make a speedy decision without weighing alternative courses of conduct, the actor may not be negligent if the actions taken are reasonable and prudent in the emergency context".</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The court held that Gringhaus established her entitlement as a matter of law as she was faced with an emergency not of her own making, “which left her with only seconds to react and virtually no opportunity to avoid a collision.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This decision serves as a reminder that if a party to a motor vehicle accident only had “seconds to react”, the emergency doctrine may apply.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Corey Morgenstern for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="">Georgia Coats</a> with any questions.</p>


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