Any law experts on collision lawsuit?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by trumpet-205, Nov 1, 2012.

Nov 1, 2012
  1. trumpet-205
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    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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    I have a question regarding a collision lawsuit, specifically a reason cited by the arbitrator. My dad was involved in a collision lawsuit. He was driving straight on green light while plaintiff was driving to the left at the opposing end of the intersection. It ended up as a frontal collision.

    My dad was sued (2 months before SOL, not surprising) and went through the arbitration process. Arbitrator decided against my dad with a confusing argument. Arbitrator cited that if my dad was really paying attention as he claimed, then the collision would not have occurred in the first place.

    I'm puzzled because I find this line of reasoning to be circumstantial at best. Is this a valid reason? This is the only reason cited by the arbitrator.
     
  2. DiscostewSM

    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I'm no law expert, but was there any evidence, like photos of the crash site or tire streaks, that would favor your father? What about the design of the intersection itself? Are they using lights that tell people that are turning to yield to oncoming traffic, or do they get their own turn?

    The fact that the arbitrator is accepting that claim sounds really odd, because the plaintiff could have easily "not been paying attention", as there is no proof either way.
     
  3. Foxi4

    Reporter Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    In most countries (meaning, countries with right-hand side traffic), the rule of the right hand applies. Any car that is by your right side has the right of way. This is particularily useful when it comes to issues on intersections.

    The argument used in the lawsuit has no legal basis - you might as well say that if the other driver paid attention, your father wouldn't have collided with him.

    It would be helpful if you drew a diagram of the intersection, keeping in mind the exact amount of traffic lanes on it. From your description alone (the way I imagine it), a collision could not have physically taken place (unless you mean "turning left" from the other driver's, not your father's perspective).

    Here is a diagram of the allowed actions. The red car is your father's car, the blue car is the other driver's car. Green arrows show allowed maneuvers, the red arrow shows maneuvers directly intersecting on-coming traffic, and thus not allowed unless the road is clear (as far as E.U law is concerned, at least, but I'd assume that U.S law works in a similar fashion). Correct me on this if I'm wrong, US drivers! As far as I know, your father was not turning on the intersection and had nobody by his right, so unless any specific signs gave the other driver the right of way or unless the other driver was on the priviledged (main) road and your father was on not, your father was supposed to drive through it first.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. DiscostewSM

    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    @Foxi4

    US driver here, and we have that rule about turning across the intersection, in that they must yield to oncoming traffic. But, that is 1 of 2 rules. Many traffic lights here on the West coast (I'm sure in other places in the US too) have their own separate lights for those turning across the intersection, and those turning can only go when the light says so. There is no yielding. They are just part of the overall queue.

    In any case, if trumpet's father had a green light, and was going straight, then there would have been no way the collision would be his fault unless he was in the inner-most lane, and his car drifted into the opposite side's turning lane. In any other scenario that I can think of, it would be the plaintiff's fault.
     
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  5. 431unknown

    Member 431unknown Greatness Awaits

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    @DiscostewSM

    Depends on the intersection and amount of traffic. Here where I live the farther you are between the little towns there are usually 1 lane each direction, get closer or in the towns and there are 2 lanes each direction at stop lights.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the plaintiff thought they had enough time to make the turn and stated such and that the arbitrator is going by the rule that a drive must be aware of every thing that is happening in front of them. This means that even if there were 2 lanes at the light both directions and the guy had a red left turn light and he ran it his father is still at fault for the accident because he should have been aware of what was going on because it was right in front of him.

    I'm not saying I agree with the verdict I just happen to know for a fact that that is how it is most often decided.
     
  6. DiscostewSM

    Member DiscostewSM GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Trumpet, can you supply us with any other information relevant to the incident? I'd rather get a better understand of the scenario than to try and make guesses, as there is currently some unknown variables in the equation.
     
  7. Foxi4

    Reporter Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Oh, we have conditional turn lights as well on some intersections, but they pretty much follow the same rule sequence-wise. The conditional turn light will not (or should not) turn on if the on-coming traffic lane has a green light as well - it'd practically set the whole intersection to "collision course mode". :lol:

    Back to the subject though, I agree with you. If I correctly understood his description and both roads were of equal status (meaning, his father was not joining the main road from a subordinate road) and he didn't pass a Give Way sign, there's indeed no way his father was at fault if he had a green light, plain and simple. This didn't even require arbitration, he's being sued for acting according to the law. :P

    Not when the other driver is driving againts the rules it ain't. By that logic, any accident can be prevented by "being vigilant". The truth is that 99% of times, there is a guilty party which violated some rule and thus caused the dangerous situation. If the other driver was supposed to slow down and check whether he should turn or give way, it's his fault, but there are other variables such as speeding etc. There is a gradation of variables in these cases.
     
  8. 431unknown

    Member 431unknown Greatness Awaits

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    I said I didn't agree with it, but most often that is how it is decided.

    http://www.castanet.net/news/INJURYwise/55787/Left-turn-who-s-at-fault

    Look for yourself.

    I'll also add that about 7 years ago I had a similar accident. The police said it was my fault so I went and got a pretty good lawyer in fact his firm is touted as one of the best in my state and I was still found to be at fault, but luckily they lowered the points which I was to incur on my record so I was able to keep my license. I was not speeding and about 2 car lengths from my light when the prick decide to turn in front of me.

    Did the plantif have his insurance companys lawyer? Did your father have lawyer? Also where was the damage located on the plaintiffs car because it would seem that that is the deciding factor of who is at fault most times.
     
  9. trumpet-205
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    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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    A lot of questions already. To clarify, yes I mean turning left from other driver's perspective as indicated by the red arrow. The intersection itself is 2 lanes for straight and 1 lane for turning left. My dad was on the middle lane. Based on my experience around that intersection green lights is only for one direction at a time. As my dad was driving straight opposing end should have red light for left turn. Plaintiff hired his layer from a law firm and my dad's lawyer is with the insurance company. Both my dad's car and plaintiff's car have frontal damage, with plaintiff's car suffered less damages. My dad's car had its airbag deployed. My dad's car was totaled. Not sure about plaintiff.
     
  10. Myke

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    if your dad was going straight through a green light, and the diagram drawn up there is accurate, then the car that hit him should have had a red light and he should have been stopped at that turn lane because of that red light. I doubt their light was green while your dad's light was green. That would probably indicate a broken stop light timer or sensor. Now if it was just an interesection with stop signs, then it could have indicated that maybe it was the left turn person's turn to go, and your dad didn't catch that.

    was it a stop light or a 4 way stop sign?
     
  11. Hanafuda

    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    The real question is, did your day waive the right to appeal the arbitrator's decision? Actually, I would guess there's a good chance it was your dad's insurance company that put it in front of an arbitrator (instead of an actual lawsuit in the courts), and that your dad's insurance policy dictates that if the insurance company decides to do that, there's nothing he can do about it. The insurance company would choose to do that because it cuts way down on litigation cost - even if they win in a traditional lawsuit, there's a chance the decision could be appealed and the cost of defending on the appeal would eliminate the 'win' from a financial perspective. I don't have experience in this type of fender-bender stuff, but I've heard that its not uncommon for these arbitrators to base their decision more on who has the more comprehensive insurance which would result in everyone getting paid. If the other guy was underinsured, he'd have gotten nothing from his insurance company and your dad would've had to use his underinsured coverage against his own insurance to pay for his loss. On the other hand, if your dad had great insurance, by finding him at fault the arbitrator is making sure everyone gets covered. I'm not saying that's what happened - just speculating.
     
  12. trumpet-205
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    Member trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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    Traffic light at all 4 ways, no stop signs.

    My dad's insurance company decides how the lawsuit is going, and right now the next course of action is mediation. Which means plaintiff will get paid in the end. My dad's premium rate will go up for a year. :cry:

    As for who is more insured, my dad is. In fact my dad suspects that plaintiff did not have insurance at the time of the collision. Plaintiff gave my dad an insurance company name that later did not match the one found on the police report and court records.
     
  13. impizkit

    Member impizkit Lazy Lurker

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    I have been in this same accident (in your fathers shoes) and was not found at fault. It was a yellow light so I had the right of way and the idiot turning left was T-Boned by me in the passenger door. He had a 5 year old in that back seat and a car right behind him that was also in his party. He couldnt wait. No one was injured and I got a new car out of it. Worked out great for me as I was given much more than my heap was worth. The guy suing has no basis for a lawsuit.
     
  14. Shebang

    Member Shebang GBAtemp Fan

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    I still wonder why there was a frontal collision. A diagram would help. But then you live in that country with the silly law system where you can get rich by pouring coffee on your thighs.
     
  15. Foxi4

    Reporter Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Anyone who would be found at fault in such a situation when rules and regulations point at the exact opposite outcome should counter-sue - this is not a matter for arbitration or meditation, there's a clear guilty party. You can't just waltz into on-coming traffic unless you're *asking* for an accident, and if he wasn't insured, he shouldn't even be allowed to sue if HE'S at fault.

    That said, once again, it'd be nice to get a detailed diagram of the intersection in question with all the lanes, traffic lights and road signs marked - then we'll be 100% sure.
     

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