What If Multiple Drivers Are Responsible for a Car Accident?
A car accident may be the fault of multiple parties. An injured third party has the right to seek compensation from anyone whose negligence contributed to the accident. Of course, multiple defendants may try blame one another in an attempt to avoid any personal liability.
Green Light Not an Automatic Defense to Negligence
For example, in August 2012, a school crossing guard in Rhode Island was the innocent victim of two allegedly negligent motorists. The victim saw a car, driven by one of the defendants, speeding towards her position at a busy intersection. The car ran through a red light and hit a truck driven by the other defendant. The truck then knocked the plaintiff into a wall.
The plaintiff sued both drivers for negligence. Before the trial court, the truck driver argued the car driver was solely responsible for the accident, as she had run the red light. The trial judge agreed and dismissed the truck driver from the case.
But the Rhode Island Supreme Court reversed that decision. The court noted that all drivers–by simply getting behind the wheel have a “duty of care” not only towards fellow motorists but “all other people in his vicinity.” In other words, even if the truck driver had a green light, he still had a legal duty to only proceed into the intersection if it was safe to do so.
The Supreme Court said the evidence on that point was in dispute, therefore summary judgment was not appropriate. A judge should always submit a personal injury case to a jury when the facts “suggest more than one reasonable inference” as to liability, the court said.
Get Help from a Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer
Judges are often quick to dismiss personal injury claims on questionable grounds. That is why it is essential you work with a qualified CT & RI personal injury attorney if you have been hurt in any kind of accident. No two personal injury cases are the same. Each involves specific factual questions that require a detailed investigation. You need to go into court armed with as much evidence as possible in support of your claim.