New York Consolidated Laws, Vehicle and Traffic Law - VAT § 388. Negligence in use or operation of vehicle attributable to owner
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1. Every owner of a vehicle used or operated in this state shall be liable and responsible for death or injuries to person or property resulting from negligence in the use or operation of such vehicle, in the business of such owner or otherwise, by any person using or operating the same with the permission, express or implied, of such owner. Whenever any vehicles as hereinafter defined shall be used in combination with one another, by attachment or tow, the person using or operating any one vehicle shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to be using or operating each vehicle in the combination, and the owners thereof shall be jointly and severally liable hereunder.
2. As used in this section, “vehicle” means a “motor vehicle”, as defined in section one hundred twenty-five of this chapter, except fire and police vehicles, self-propelled combines, self-propelled corn and hay harvesting machines and tractors used exclusively for agricultural purposes, and shall also include “semitrailer” and “trailer” as defined in article one of this chapter, whether or not such vehicles are used or operated upon a public highway. For the purpose of this section, self-propelled caterpillar or crawler-type equipment while being operated on the contract site, shall not be defined as motor vehicles.
3. As used in this section, “owner” shall be as defined in section one hundred twenty-eight of this chapter and their liability under this section shall be joint and several. If a vehicle be sold under a contract of sale which reserves a security interest in the vehicle in favor of the vendor, such vendor or his assignee shall not, after delivery of such vehicle, be deemed an owner within the provisions of this section, but the vendee, or his assignee, receiving possession thereof, shall be deemed such owner notwithstanding the terms of such contract, until the vendor or his assignee shall retake possession of such vehicle. A secured party in whose favor there is a security interest in any vehicle out of his possession, shall not be deemed an owner within the provisions of this section.
4. All bonds executed by or policies of insurance issued to the owner of any vehicle subject to the provisions of this section shall contain a provision for indemnity or security against the liability and responsibility provided in this section; but, except as provided in paragraphs one and two of subsection (g) of section three thousand four hundred twenty of the insurance law , this provision shall not be construed as requiring that such a policy include insurance against any liability of the insured, being an individual, for death of or injuries to his or her spouse or for injury to property of his or her spouse, where the injured spouse, to be entitled to recover, must prove the culpable conduct of the insured spouse.
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