Ran a Stop Sign but the Stop Sign is Not There. Was I Negligent?
31-2-3054 Compagnucci v. Collura , N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (7 pp.)
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
A case was recently decided by New Jersey’s Appellate Division regarding a motor vehicle accident causing the plaintiff severe injury. In the case, the plaintiff was stopped at an intersection which she was familiar with. The defendant was traveling towards the intersection and he was not familiar with the intersection. Both parties agreed that there was supposed to be a stop sign in the defendant’s direction, however the stop sign was removed for unknown reasons. This caused the defendant to crash into the plaintiff, causing her injury.
The plaintiff sued for negligence. Negligence is established if it is found: (1) the defendant owed her a duty of care; (2) the defendant breached that duty; and (3) the plaintiff suffered an injury proximately caused by defendant’s breach. The mere happening of an accident raises no presumption of negligence. Negligence is not be presumed; rather, it must be proved. There is a presumption against negligence, and the burden of establishing such negligence is on plaintiff.
Even though the defendant had a duty to make proper observations as he approached and entered the intersection, the Plaintiff presented no evidence from which a jury could conclude defendant breached the duty to make reasonable observations. Further there was no evidence that the defendant was speeding. Therefore, the plaintiff presented no evidence establishing that defendant was negligent, and her case was dismissed.