Monday, September 30, 2013

Liability in Rear-End Collisions

The prevailing view among many New Yorkers when it comes to rear-end collisions is that the driver of the rear vehicle is 100% at fault.  Allstate Insurance Company shared and asserted this view in its summary judgment motion in a recent New York subrogation action.  However, as you will see below, the prevailing view is not entirely accurate.

Allstate sought to recover uninsured motorist benefits that it paid to the plaintiff, Ms. Lopez (its Insured) for injuries sustained when the defendant's vehicle rear-ended her car at a stop sign on the entrance ramp leading to Route I-95.

During discovery, plaintiff stated in her deposition that she had been stopped at a stop sign when her vehicle was struck from behind by the defendant, Mr. Garcia.  In his deposition, Mr. Garcia asserted that the plaintiff had inexplicably stopped suddenly after it had proceeded through the stop sign, resulting in the defendant striking Ms. Lopez's vehicle.

When it comes to rear-end collisions, New York law states that a "rear-end collision with a stopped or stopping vehicle creates a prima facie case of negligence with respect to the operator of the moving vehicle and imposes a duty on that operator to rebut the inference of negligence by providing a non negligent explanation for the collision (see Tutrani v. County of Suffolk, 10 NY3d 906, 908 [2008].  

Therefore, because the Court felt that the defendant's non-negligent explanation — that he had struck plaintiff when she inexplicably stopped her vehicle after it had proceeded through the stop sign — raised a triable issue of fact, it was unwilling to grant Allstate's motion seeking summary judgment.  

By: Richard A. Rodriguez, Esq.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Congratulations to our Co-Founder, Richard A. Rodriguez for being named to the 2013 Super Lawyers New York Rising Stars List

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (September 17, 2013) - We are pleased to announce that our Co-Founder, Richard A. Rodriguez has been selected to the 2013 New York State Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

            Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

            The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit

            We are honored to announce this tremendous accomplishment and congratulate Rich on his wonderful achievement.

About Santangelo & Rodriguez, P.C.:

            Santangelo & Rodriguez, P.C. is a professional law firm serving the insurance and business communities as well as the public in a number of practice areas.  Our attorney’s place our clients first, provide them with superb legal services, and offer them creative solutions that lead to the most beneficial result.

            We offer the sophisticated and highly skilled representation expected of a large law firm with the customized, personal service that only a boutique practice can provide. Through the use of the latest technology, our attorneys are able to provide their clients with the resources needed to zealously and cost-effectively represent their interests.

            Our attorneys practice in the areas of insurance coverage, subrogation, matrimonial and family law, business law, and commercial litigation.

            To learn more about what the attorneys at Santangelo & Rodriguez, P.C. can do for you or your organization, please contact us (516) 597-5010 or visit our website at