(CN) – The driver of an Access-a-Ride van is not liable for a motorcyclist’s death because he did not cause or foresee the accident, the New York Appellate Division ruled.
William Geoghan was driving his car when the wheel fell off and he came to a stop. The wheel hit the cyclist, who was thrown into the path of the van driven by Marcus Cooper.
Laura Jones sued both drivers on behalf of her decedent. The trial court ruled in her favor, but the appellate judges reversed the decision in regards to Cooper.
“Cooper was faced with a sudden and unforeseen occurrence not of his own making,” the judges wrote. “Under any reasonable view of the evidence, the emergency doctrine applied. It would be speculative to conclude that Cooper could have avoided the accident under these circumstances.”