He Nodded at Me

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Q: I was standing next to the curb between two stopped cars.  In the next lane, there was a bus.  The driver nodded to me as if to say “yes.”  Then I stepped out onto the turnpike, but he hit me!  The driver says that he sounded his horn, slammed on his brakes, and swerved to the left.  My friend disagrees.  The driver also denies that he nodded.  He adds that, as I crossed, I was not even looking in his direction, the direction of oncoming traffic.

A: From the defendants’ perspective, you intentionally jaywalked from behind two vehicles and into the path of an immediately approaching bus in such a manner that the accident could not possibly be prevented, violating at least two sections of the Vehicle and Traffic Law: section 1151, which provides that no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield; and section 1152, which requires every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection to yield the right of way.

Fortunately, it sounds like you have evidence that the driver did not sound his horn.  Thereby, he would have violated Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1146(a), which requires every driver to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian, or domestic animal – and to give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.  Moreover, if the driver indeed nodded, he undertook to ensure your safe passage across the roadway

Under the ‘emergency doctrine’, if the driver was faced with sudden and unexpected circumstances – which (1) left little or no time for thought, deliberation or consideration, or (2) caused him to be reasonably so disturbed that he needed to make a speedy decision without weighing alternative courses of conduct – then the driver was not be negligent if his actions were reasonable and prudent in this emergency context.  Your attorney will dispute that an emergency situation existed and will contend that negligence on the driver’s part indeed contributed to this accident.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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