Blume Forte attorney, Cynthia Craig represented a woman who was injured in an auto accident that occurred at an intersection controlled by a stop sign. "Our" client was coming to a stop at the stop sign, but was behind an SUV driven by a 17-year old driver. The 17-year old driver suddenly reversed her vehicle and crashed into the front of our client's car. The 17 year old defendant explained that she had backed up to avoid a tractor trailer owned by another defendant, that was to her right, and making a left turn in front of her at that intersection.
The truck driver would have been unable to complete the turn with the 17 year old's SUV pulled right up to the stop sign. The young driver explained that the truck was turning into her lane, would have hit her if she had not reversed, and, that the truck driver had waved her to back up in order to facilitate his own passage. The truck driver denied having waved off the young driver, but, he admitted in depositions that he could not complete his turn with the SUV stopped at the stop sign, because the road was too narrow to allow him to turn unless he crossed into her lane.
The trial court granted summary judgment to the truck driver and trucking company, holding that the young driver was entirely at fault for the accident, because the truck never made contact with her vehicle. On appeal, the Appellate Division reversed the trial court and remanded the case for trial against the truck driver and the trucking company. The Appellate Division ruled that a motorist has a duty to exercise reasonable care when gesturing to another driver to facilitate the flow of traffic; and, that it was a question of fact for a jury to determine whether the truck driver merely indicated that the young driver should back up, or, whether he was indicating that it was safe to do so. The Appellate court further held that a jury should determine whether the truck driver was negligent in making his turn.
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