A motor vehicle accident early Friday morning, March 20, 2015, left two people dead in Staten Island, New York and several others injured. The collision was between a tractor-trailer and a black Honda Civic near the Arthur Kill Road exit on the West Shore Expressway.
Reports indicate that the Honda was traveling north in the southbound lane when it struck a tractor-trailer which was also driving in the southbound lane.
The driver and front passenger of the car were both pronounced dead at the scene, and the two backseat passengers sustained serious injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening. The driver of the tractor-trailer reportedly suffered minor injuries.
Tragically, three off-duty New Jersey police officers were involved in the deadly crash. The police officers were in the Honda traveling the wrong way. One of the police officers died in the accident.
While it is too early to know if there will be a civil lawsuit as a result of this accident, in cases such as this, where one vehicle is operating the wrong way and strikes another vehicle, the "emergency doctrine" may apply.
The "emergency doctrine" is a defense, possibly applicable to the operator of the tractor-trailer here if a claim for negligence was made against him, when a person is faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance that leaves little to no time to make an alternate decision, the driver will not be negligent as long as the actions taken are reasonable and prudent and the driver did not create the emergency. See Barbato v. Maloney, 94 A.D.3d (2d Dept. 2012).
If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained serious injuries, contact the attorneys at Louis Grandelli, P.C.