Bassey v. Mistrough

88 A.D.2d 894, 450 N.Y.S.2d 604 (App. Div. 1982)

 

RULE:

A jury should be advised that a plaintiff can be advised from certain compliance given emergency situations.

FACTS:

As a result of a flat tire, the injured party’s vehicle’s electrical system became inoperative and the unlighted vehicle stalled in the middle of the road. The injured party filed an action against the driver, who collided with the rear of the stalled vehicle. The trial court entered judgment upon a jury verdict in favor of the driver.

ISSUE:

Did the court err when it failed to charge the jury that the failure of the lights to function did not constitute a violation of NY Veh & Traf. Law § 375(2)(a) if there existed an emergency situation as a result of non-functioning lights?

ANSWER:

Yes

CONCLUSION:

The court reversed and granted a new trial. The trial court erred when it failed to charge the jury that the failure of the lights to function did not constitute a violation of NY Veh & Traf. Law § 375(2)(a) if there existed an emergency situation as a result of non-functioning lights. Such supplementary charge was a proper request in view of the evidence that the injured party was unable to avoid temporarily leaving his stalled, unlighted vehicle on the highway. The charging of the general language on emergencies, together with the other general instructions, prior to reading the text of the relevant sections of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, did not serve to cure the error of failing to include the requested supplementary charge.

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