When cars collide head-on in New York, does at least one of them have to be negligent? A jury said no, and the trial court agreed. The case was brought by an injured passenger in one of the cars.
In a ruling last week, the Appellate Division Second Department reversed with this principle of law:
It has repeatedly been held that a driver who crosses over a double yellow line into opposing traffic, unless justified by an emergency not of the driver’s own making, violates the Vehicle and Traffic Law and is guilty of negligence as a matter of law.
Here, the evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the statute was violated by either [car one or car two]. Neither party presented a non-negligent explanation for the accident. Rather, each defendant claimed that although it had been raining and/or sleeting for some time, she did not lose control of her vehicle. In any event, the adverse weather conditions were foreseeable and would not have provided a non-negligent excuse for the collision.
The case was sent back for a new trial. The decision in Sena v Negron is here.