Ronald Winnix v. Sandra Winnix and Binyamin Salis
Superior Court of New Jersey
July 3, 2019
Submitted by New Jersey Truck Crash Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
On July 6, 2012, both plaintiff and defendant were driving southbound in the same car, on the New Jersey Turnpike. Mrs. Winnix heard a thumping noise and decided to pull onto the right shoulder. Both defendant and plaintiff inspected the tire and proceeded to get back onto the road after not seeing any defects. Defendant pulled into traffic with her hazards on and started to accelerate. The noise from the back tire stopped and then suddenly defendant’s back tire popped. The car cut to the left and then back to the right and hit truck driver Mr. Salis.
On July 7, 2014, plaintiff filed an amended complaint against defendants, seeking compensatory damages for injuries he suffered related to this automobile accident. After extensive discovery, the court granted Salis’s motion for summary judgment. The motion judge found the record devoid of any evidence that Salis was civilly liable for the accident. There was no evidence Salis drove the tractor in a negligent manner and was the reason for the accident. “Ordinarily negligence must be proved and will never be presumed, that indeed there is a presumption against it, and that the burden of proving negligence is on the plaintiff,” the plaintiff in this case never proved it was the truck drivers fault. The testimony in the case proves the car lost control and hit the defendant’s truck.
The appellate court ruled there is no rational basis to deduce the accident was caused by Salis’s negligence operation of his tractor trailer truck. Salis reduced his speed when he saw the minivan pull out in front of him and tried to maneuver around the minivan when it lost control. The appellate court found there was an assumption of risk by the plaintiff after the minivans tire was just replaced before their nine hour long road trip. The tire was a used tire of unknown quality. The court found that even after the minivan pulled over after hearing the thumping noise, the car was put back on the road and assumed the risk of driving the car again. The appellate court affirms the motion of summary judgment.