Motorists owe a duty of care to other individuals on or around the road.
Any failure to adhere to this duty can lead to negligence and potential
liability when someone is injured. More specifically, a motorist’s
duty of care is that drivers have a duty to use reasonable care under
the circumstances, as would any other prudent motorist, so that foreseeable
harm does not come to other people on the road. The inquiry into whether
or not this duty is breached is fact intensive. Meaning that various factors
such as the weather, road conditions, and the time of day will impact
on how “reasonable” is defined. This is why you need an experienced
Kingston car accident attorney to protect your rights.
Failing to See What There is to be Seen
In short, anything that can been perceived, should be seen and responded
to by motorists. Therefore, if a motorist is properly using his or her
senses, such as sight and hearing, a traffic flow device or roadway danger
would be perceived. If investigation into the cause of an automobile accident
shows that normal use of the senses would have averted the collision,
then the offending driver could be found negligent in his or her operation
of the vehicle.
Posted maximum speed limit signs should be seen by drivers. All motorists
know what they look like and that speed regulations must be adhered to.
Other obvious indicators of traffic flow regulation should be seen as
well: stop signs, yield signs, traffic signals, children at play warnings,
“deaf child area” signs, and the like. Drivers should be on
the lookout for these indicators.
What Happens When You’re Hit by a Car
As you know from above, motorists have a duty to use reasonable and prudent
care to avoid causing foreseeable harm to pedestrians. Motorists should
be on the lookout for
pedestrians. At the same time, pedestrians have a duty of reasonable care as well.
Pedestrians must look out for vehicles and not suddenly enter into the
path of an oncoming vehicle.
Various statutes in New York guide proper roadway behaviors for pedestrians
and motorists. For example, motorists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
When not using crosswalks, pedestrians should yield the right of way to
In either event, both parties need to use reasonable care. Therefore, even
if a pedestrian was hit while in a crosswalk, the pedestrian must not
have sped into a crosswalk giving the driver no time to avert the accident.
Additionally, if the pedestrian was outside of a crosswalk when hit, the
driver is not saved from liability if facts indicate that he or she had
the opportunity to avert the accident by proper use of his or her senses.
Car Accidents Caused When Drivers Can’t See
Inclement weather conditions such as fog, rain, and snow often obstruct
the vision of drivers. A motorist’s duty to use reasonable care
requires that the motorist take steps that alleviate or reduce the danger.
Snow and ice must be cleared from vehicle windows prior to operating the vehicle. If
such accumulates on the windows while the motorist is driving, the operator
should take mitigating steps, such as slowing down and/or stopping the
vehicle to remediate the problem. Driving in fog often requires drivers
to decrease the vehicles rate of speed.
In short, one cannot avoid liability by simply stating that he or she did
not see the person or thing that was hit. Motorists have the responsibility
to make sure that their vision is not obscured, and if such is not within
their control, the motorist must either slow down or stop the vehicle
entirely; do whatever a reasonable and prudent driver would do under the
Car Accidents with Emergency Vehicles
Emergency vehicles that have their sirens and lights engaged must be yielded
to. Statutes, in fact, dictate that motorists yield to emergency vehicles.
However, emergency vehicles should not be reckless in their conduct as
many of the statutes require emergency vehicles to use care when traveling
through intersections, use sirens, and activate lights. Even outside of
intersections police cruisers and ambulances are also required to proceed
with caution and adjust their speeds as required by the circumstances
present at the time.