Bus Avoids Summary Judgment for Rear-End Collision by Claiming Car in Front Suddenly Stopped Short

Case: Ramos v. TC Paratransit

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York

Date: June 20, 2012.

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens injury attorney)

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Facts: This motor vehicle accident occurred on May 14, 2008. Plaintiff were husband (driver) and wife (passenger). They slowed down and were rear-ended by defendant's bus. This gives them a claim for summary judgment on the issue of liability, based on defendants' negligence.

The bus driver testified at deposition he was driving 3 or 4 car lengths behind plaintiff's vehicle when it stopped short. At the time the bus driver claims the bus was traveling at 20 miles per hour.

The bus driver presumes that plaintiffs were preparing to make a sudden illegal left turn or u-turn.

Held: The defendants raised a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant bus driver was negligent in operating the bus.

Comment: This decision is plain wrong. The rear-ending bus should have been left a safe stopping distance between itself and the vehicle or car in front of it. Period.

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