Outside Counsel

No Time to React: Summary Judgment for the Motorist Faced With Sudden Danger

, New York Law Journal


Montgomery L. Effinger writes that vehicle operators whose time to respond to unpredictable behaviors of other drivers or pedestrians is mere seconds or less may obtain summary judgment prior to trial under the common law "emergency doctrine." But even when a time lapse of one to two seconds establishes that the driver played no role in creation of the underlying accident, other factors may be found to raise a question of fact as to the reasonableness of the driver's response, thereby resulting in denial of summary judgment.

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