If you have legal questions after a serious auto, motorcycle, bike, bus or truck accident, then you should consult an experienced lawyer practicing in Brooklyn. Many times split second decisions can result in serious accidents.
Let’s take a common example of a simple driving situation which everyone faces at one time or another which can result in an accident. Someone is driving a car on a local New York City street. It can be any street, but let’s take for the purposes of this example a known thoroughfare such as Avenue J in Flatbush, Brooklyn. It is a very heavily traveled commercial area. Faced by traffic congestion and a serious parking issue, someone decides to double-park a delivery van. They turn their flashers on. They walk away. The parking lanes are all taken. You realize that you are stopped behind a double parked van and the driver has no intention of coming back anytime soon. You are sitting impatiently waiting for the driver of the van to return. Moments pass. Drivers behind you are sounding their horn. You look ahead to your left and observe that there is a double yellow line dividing your lane and oncoming traffic. Your vision of oncoming traffic is partially blocked by the double parked van. What shall you do? What are you legally required and permitted to do?
The Vehicle and Traffic Law §1126 states as follows: No-passing zones:
(a) When official markings are in place indicating those portions of any highway where overtaking and passing or driving to the left of such markings would be especially hazardous, no driver of a vehicle proceeding along such highway shall at any time drive on the left side of such markings.
What that means is that you may not cross the double lines. So what shall you do? Another section of the Vehicle and Traffic Law provides guidance. VTL Section 1128(a) provides: “A vehicle shall be driven as nearly practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety”.
Therefore, you have the obligation of making certain that an accident does not happen before you attempt to pass that van. If an accident indeed occurs in this or any similar factual setting, it is imperative that a lawyer be promptly consulted.
As one can readily observe, accident cases can be complex. New York is a comparative negligence State. Therefore, even if you have some degree of fault in causing an accident, that does not prevent recovery providing the other party bears some fault as well.
When accidents occur determining the issue of fault can become an extremely complex issue. Awareness of the statutory obligations of everyone involved in the accident must be considered. It is important to promptly locate an attorney who is aware of the law in order to carefully determine whether you have a case.