Court Determines Defendant’s “Wave On” Gesture to Plaintiff Was Not the Proximate Cause of Subsequent Car Accident

Many of us have the experience of sitting in a busy intersection, when a motorist approaching in the opposite direction is attempting to make a left turn through what seems like a solid line of cars. In this situation, it is common for the turning driver to look at one of the cars in the line of traffic in hopes of getting some feedback about whether it is safe to proceed with the turn.

Traffic JamIn a recent personal injury case, the court had to determine if a defendant’s “wave on” gesture was the cause of an accident that injured the plaintiff. The case is important for Maryland car accident victims to understand because it illustrates how Maryland courts may interpret the causation element of a personal injury case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was an on-duty police officer returning to the police barracks. The plaintiff was traveling westbound, and as he approached the barracks parking lot, he needed to make a left hand turn across two eastbound lanes of traffic. The defendant was traveling on the same road in the opposite direction.

As the plaintiff pulled up to make the left turn, there was a line of cars in the eastbound lane waiting at a red light. The plaintiff angled his vehicle toward the parking lot in front of the defendant’s stopped vehicle. The plaintiff made eye contact with the defendant, and the defendant then checked his mirrors and waved the plaintiff on, signaling that it was safe to proceed. As the plaintiff crossed in front of the defendant’s vehicle, he slowed to a crawl and checked to see if any cars were coming. After determining that it was safe to proceed, the plaintiff crossed into the second eastbound lane. As he did so, he was struck by another eastbound motorist.

The plaintiff then filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the defendant was negligent in indicating it was safe to proceed with the turn. However, the court hearing the case determined that the plaintiff’s case was insufficient as a matter of law. Specifically, the court held that the defendant’s gesture was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The court explained that it was the plaintiff’s ultimate responsibility to complete a safe left turn.

While the plaintiff claimed that he relied on the defendant’s gesture, the court determined that not to be the case. The court noted that the plaintiff proceeded with caution after the defendant made the gesture, indicating that he knew he needed to take additional precautions.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, it is very likely that the named defendant and their insurance company will dispute your claim. The skilled Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience handling Maryland car accident cases. We are adept at dealing with insurance companies and fight for the rights of our clients at every opportunity. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Recent Case Finds Hotel Was Not Liable for Poolside Accident Caused by Drunk Driver, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published August 2, 2017.

Court Allows Evidence of “Other Similar Incidents” in Recent Product Liability Car Accident Case, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published July 11, 2017.

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