Vincent J. DeLeonardis obtains “No Cause of Action” verdict in trial.
At 9:00 in the evening, the Plaintiff, a pedestrian, was attempting to cross New York State Route 9N after leaving a restaurant when she was struck by a car driven by the Defendant. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant driver was negligent for leaving the designated roadway and striking Plaintiff. The police accident report regarding the incident indicated that the driver attempted to avoid the Plaintiff and in doing so struck her with the driver’s side-view mirror. Plaintiff claimed that she sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident.
Plaintiff testified that she observed the Defendant’s vehicle approaching before the accident occurred but, nonetheless, decided to attempt to cross the road believing that she had sufficient time to do so. The Defendant driver, who was not speeding, testified that it was dark with little lighting around the roadway and she did not see the Plaintiff crossing the road until it was too late to avoid the accident.
The question of negligence turned on an interpretation of Vehicle and Traffic Law §1146. This section requires that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any…pedestrian…upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.” “When necessary” is determined based upon the circumstances surrounding each particular accident. Mr. DeLeonardis argued that the Defendant driver was not negligent in failing to sound her horn because the Plaintiff had testified that she observed the Defendant driver’s headlights knew that the Defendant driver was approaching. Thus, it was not necessary for the Defendant driver to sound her horn because Plaintiff was already aware of the Defendant driver’s presence prior to the accident.
Following the five day trial, the jury rendered a “No Cause of Action” verdict in favor of Mr. DeLeonardis’ client. The jury found that the Plaintiff did not prove that the Defendant driver operated her vehicle in a negligent manner.