Earlier this month, an appellate court in Rhode Island issued a written opinion in a car accident case involving a two-car collision that resulted in a nearby crossing guard being struck and seriously injured by one of the vehicles. The court had to decide whether both parties to the car accident could potentially be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Ultimately, the court held that a jury should be able to determine and apportion fault between the motorists, and allowed the case to proceed toward trial against both parties.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a crossing guard stationed on the corner near the school. A few minutes before her shift was scheduled to end, she looked up and saw a black car speeding down the road, passing cars in the opposing lane of traffic. As the car approached the intersection where the plaintiff was stationed, it ran a red light. The car entered the intersection at the same time as a pick-up truck also entered the intersection with a green light on its side. The vehicles collided, and the force of the collision sent the pick-up truck careening into the plaintiff. She was thrown against a nearby wall and suffered serious injuries as a result.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against both drivers. During summary judgment proceedings, the pick-up truck driver asked the court to dismiss the case against him, because it was uncontested that he’d entered the intersection with a green light. The trial judge agreed that the pick-up truck driver was not negligent because he had a green light, and granted summary judgment in his favor. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that there was a material issue of fact that the jury needed to decide. Specifically, the plaintiff pointed to her own testimony that when the pick-up truck driver entered the intersection, it was not clear. Thus, it was not safe for him to enter the intersection and he should have waited. To counter this, the pick-up truck driver pointed to his own testimony and that of two other witnesses, which essentially stated that the intersection was clear, and that no one was in front of him when he entered the intersection.
The court held that, because there was conflicting evidence, it would not be appropriate to grant summary judgment. The court explained that, at this level, it is not for the judge to credit the testimony of the pick-up truck driver and eyewitnesses over the testimony of the plaintiff and a jury should make that determination of credibility.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation, including amounts for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and for any pain and suffering you have endured. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of car accident cases on behalf of their injured clients, and know what it takes to succeed in Maryland courtrooms. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
As Autonomous Car Technology Advances, Legal Issues Arise, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published March 7, 2017.
Court Allows Negligent Entrustment Claim to Proceed Against Employer that Allowed an Employee to Use a Company Vehicle for Personal Use, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 23, 2017.