Natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods and, most recently, hurricanes, can cause destruction, death and chaos in urban areas. Hurricane Sandy left a devastating impact on many areas along the east coast, including New York City. And though the hurricane itself is long gone, its effects remain and continue to wreak havoc on the city-particularly in the form of power outages, which have caused a car accident in lower Manhattan.
Several days after the storm, two cars collided at the intersection of Houston and Varick Street. This area of lower Manhattan, along with many other areas of the city, was one that was still without power, which also left the intersection without working traffic signals. It is unclear what the exact cause of the accident was. However the drivers of both vehicles walked away from the car accident without serious injury and declined to accept medical treatment from emergency personnel.
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Car accident liability is determined by the legal theory of negligence. Drivers must use reasonable care, as is appropriate under the circumstances, when driving on the road. Drivers who do things such as failing to stop at a stop sign or traffic light, speeding, or switching lanes in an unsafe manner may be found to have acted negligently. However, in some situations, such as where roads are poorly maintained or traffic lights are malfunctioning, drivers may not be found negligent.
In a unique situation, such as the situation facing many neighborhoods in New York still without power, New York drivers should exercise utmost caution. This is especially important when going through intersections that drivers know are still experiencing a power outage.
Source: Huffington Post, “Hurricane Sandy Power Outage Causes Car Accident in Lower Manhattan,” Nov. 2, 2012