By David Peel
The story you are about to hear is real. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Imagine that you are driving around a sweeping curve through a treed, rural area. A guardrail hugs the right side of the road. On your left, near the road, you notice a very young child that appears unattended. You come to a controlled stop to make sure he is okay and not some missing child, lost in the woods. Finally seeing the adult nearby, you are relieved. Then a car crashes into you from behind!
Now imagine that you are partially blamed (20%) by the insurance of the car that hit you for causing the crash! They claim that stopping with hundreds of feet of visibility is “obstructing traffic.”
Their initial investigation was limited to only two things:
- Their negligent insured’s self-serving statement that she did not have time to stop, and that the Plaintiff should have pulled off, and stopped on the shoulder;
- A basic crash report without much in the way of details.
My analysis included several points I made to this insurance company:
Firstly, let me point out the obvious problem with your defense in that the Plaintiff saw a child next to the road and was able to come to complete stop. But your insured, a young driver, is contending that she should not see a car right in front of her in daylight in time to stop— The roadway is exactly the same for both….
Secondly, let me point out the next obvious problem with your defense in that the Defendant claimed that Plaintiff should have gotten off on the right shoulder. There was no shoulder there. In fact, there was a guard rail.
Thirdly, if my client had been stopped to turn left and was awaiting traffic to clear, isn’t that “obstructing traffic” according to your definition? That would mean all left turns now become negligent?
It will be interesting to see if this company changes their tune after my response.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in tractor trailer and car accidents, medical malpractice, and disability. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.