On November 16, 2013, a sanitation truck driver for the City of New York, Darrel Lindo, reached the intersection at 109th Avenue and 205th Street in Queens at the same time as another vehicle, driven by Hugo Fuertes. Lindo was driving on 109th Avenue – where traffic is controlled by a stop sign. Fuertes was driving was driving on 205th Street – where traffic was not controlled by a stop sign, or, for that matter, any other traffic control devices. The two drivers, Lindo and Fuertes, collided in the intersection. Subsequently, Fuertes, the driver without a stop sign, sued Lindo for the injuries he endured damages as a result of the collision.
The Court ruled in favor of Fuertes, saying that, because he did not have a stop sign requiring him to stop then Lindo was fully at-fault for the collision. Lindo argued that he should not be “fully liable” – or fully responsible – for the damages for two reasons. First, Lindo argued that he should not be fully liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries because he did, in fact, stop at the stop sign. The Court said that even if this were the case, Lindo is still responsible because he failed to yield to Fuertes who, without any stop sign, had the right-of-way. The Court essentially pointed out the obvious – that stopping at the stop sign is pointless if you then fail-to-yield – which is the whole point of putting the stop sign on that street.
Second, Lindo argued that he should not be “fully liable” because Fuertes should have seen the large sanitation truck, realized that it was barreling into the intersection and then taken preventative measures to reduce the damage to his vehicle. The Court also dismissed this argument. The Court wrote that when Fuertes had “only seconds to react to a vehicle which has failed to yield,” then Fuertes is not at any fault for failing to avoid the accident.
By dismissing both of these arguments, the Court ruled that when a driver has a stop sign and thus a requirement to yield to oncoming traffic, and that driver fails to yield to oncoming traffic, then he/she is fully responsible for the damages caused by that accident where the driver with the “right-of-way” only had seconds to react. It does not matter whether the at-fault driver stopped or did not stop at the stop sign.
Gallivan & Gallivan is a New York Injury Law Firm that has represented people injured in car accidents for over forty-five years. Please contact us to discuss your potential case.