Musharbash v. Duran, 22054/07 (N.Y. App. Div. Oct. 21, 2009) (Scheinkman, J.)

Defendant fails to rebut plaintiff's prima facie evidence of negligence where defendant rear-ended a stopped vehicle in heavy traffic, even though defendant was only driving five miles per hour.

The plaintiffs sought to recover damages for personal injuries they allegedly sustained due to a motor vehicle accident where the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff's vehicle. The court ruled a rear-end collision with a stopped vehicle established prima face negligence by the driver of the following vehicle. At the time of the accident, the defendant's vehicle was moving approximately five miles per hour, and he had his foot on the brake. However, "[e]vidence of a 'sudden stop' in heavy traffic is insufficient to rebut the inference of defendant's negligence since defendant should have anticipated that cars ahead of her would come to a stop."

Case Law Alert - 1st Qtr 2010