Rear-enders, Beware

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Q: At a red traffic light, my pick-up was fully stopped behind a car.  When the traffic light changed, we began to move forward.  I saw a group of pedestrians on the sidewalk to the right and turned my head for a split second to make sure that no one would dart out in front of me.

When I brought my attention back to the road, I saw that the car ahead had come to a stop because, indeed, a pedestrian had run out in front of it.  My noticing this was too late to stop my pick-up from striking the car in the rear.

The driver of the car has been saying that he always remained stopped – even after the light had turned green – in order to let pedestrians finish crossing the street.  I just don’t remember it that way.

A: I am afraid that the law works rather strictly against you.  In similar situations, our courts have held that a rational jury cannot possibly find that you have a non-negligent explanation for the accident.  By your own admission, the accident occurred because you took your eyes off the road, period.  You further acknowledge that the first car was rightfully stopped – because a pedestrian had run in front of it.

The law is rather cut and dry, here: vehicle stops that are foreseeable under the prevailing traffic conditions, even if sudden and frequent, must be anticipated by the driver who follows; you must maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the car ahead.  Let’s hope your attorney can find a silver lining that turns your case around.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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