This morning’s Northwest Herald carries an article about a lawsuit filed by the family of a 14-year-old girl killed in an automobile accident last October 5th. The lawsuit was filed against the driver of the second vehicle in the accident and a farmer whose sign advertising a haunted house was supposedly erected in a place where it obstructed the view of oncoming traffic.
Noticeably absent from the lawsuit, at least as reported in the paper, was legal action against the 16-year-old driver who allegedly caused the accident by running a stop sign. And who did not ensure that all his passengers were buckled up. The girl who died was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle.
The tragedy of losing a young daughter in a senseless automobile accident is lessened in no way by how it happened. Did two 14-year-old girls belong in a vehicle with a young driver at 11:44PM on a Friday night?
According to the newspaper the lawsuit “cites” the driver who had the right-of-way with “speeding, failure to slow down or sound his horn.”
Actually, it is the police who “cite” a driver. What this lawsuit does is allege that the driver operated his vehicle in that manner. When someone runs a stop sign right in front of you, there often is not a lot you can do about it.
The second driver, the one with the right-of-way and who did not run the stop sign, was charged and convicted of operating a motor vehicle without insurance, and he was fined $500.
The lessons here? Keep your vehicle insured. Watch for cross-traffic at all intersections.
I remember - - way back when I was a young man investigating auto accident claims for an independent agency - - that my boss always told me to ask a driver who had hit one of our insureds (who had run a stop sign or red light), “Did you look for cross-traffic as you approached the intersection on the green light?” “Did you look to be sure that the driver on a cross-street was going to stop at his stop sign, before you entered the intersection?”
The point was to uncover that the other driver had NOT looked and, therefore, was careless when he crossed the intersection on a green light. Unfair?
Sure, we expect the other driver to stop for his stop sign or stop for his red light. Beware if you hit someone who doesn’t stop there. There might just be a lawyer waiting to clean out your wallet.