Wife has only a driver's permit in NY. After she dropped me
off at work, she was involved in a traffic accident. Because
she was driving unsupervised, cop said it was automatically
her fault. Is that true?
1 Answer from Attorneys
No, that is not true at all. In order for her to be liable in a negligence case, she needed to owe a duty of care to other drivers, have breached that duty, and the breach must have been the cause of the accident resulting in damages. Violation of a statute is only evidence that she breached a duty, but that only allows the plaintiff in a lawsuit to move on to the next element of proof, namely to show that the violation of the statute was the cause of the accident and that he or she suffered damages. If the cause of the accident, however, was that the other driver ran a stop sign (as an example), the cause of the accident was not a result of the statutory violation, but the failure of the other driver to obey the rules of the road.