A motorcycle slammed into the side of an SUV carrying a mother and her four children at the intersection of Aramingo Avenue and Venango Street in Port Richmond. The accident happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 19. 2019, when the SUV attempted to take a left turn from the intersection while the motorcycle went through the intersection and hit the side door of the SUV.
A traffic camera recorded the crash which showed the driver turning left, and motorcycle entering the intersection with an apparently green light. Witnesses say the motorcycle was going at a high rate of speed, and the video seems to support that.
The motorcycle rider was rushed to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. Four children ages 5, 9, 11 years old along with a 3 days old infant were in the car at the time of the accident. All four sustained injuries and were rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital. The infant was trapped in the SUV and EMS workers had cut the baby out. The mother sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital and quickly released.
Police say that the mother was driving on a suspended license and that they are still investigating the accident.
Crashes Where Both Drivers Broke the Law
Although we don’t know who was at fault in the above incident, how does the law determine who is at-fault in accidents where both drivers broke the law? If someone is speeding, and the other driver turned left violating the right-of-way of the other car, who is at fault for the accident?
Actually, personal injury law doesn’t look at who violated traffic laws to determine who was at fault in an accident. In Fact, in Pennsylvania, there is a law that states a violation of a traffic code is not to be used to determine fault in a personal injury case. This may sound strange, but civil law is separate from criminal law, and a personal injury case is based on negligence.
What is Negligence?
To be liable for injuries and damages in an accident, the injured person must show that the other driver was negligent in his or her actions during the incident. This means that the driver didn’t operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner such that the other person was able to proceed in safety.
To determine if that happened, the court evaluates the conduct of the driver to see if it lines up with what a reasonable person would have done in the same or similar circumstances.
Would a reasonable person turn in front of another driver who had the right-of-way? Also, would a reasonable driver travel at a high-rate of speed through a busy intersection?
Pennsylvania is a comparative fault state meaning that the court is allowed to assign a percentage of blame to both drivers, and each person’s injuries will be paid out by each driver by the percentage they are at fault.
For example, if one person was 30 percent at fault and the other was 70 percent, then one driver would pay 70 percent of the injuries sustained in the crash, and the other would pay for 30 percent.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in an accident where both people have broken the vehicle codes, you need to talk to an attorney who understands civil personal injury law and how the comparative fault system works. If you try to go in alone, then the insurance company will try to blame you for all of the fault.
Don’t let this happen to you. At the Pearce Law Firm, P.C., we offer a free consultation where you can talk to an attorney to determine your rights under the law. If you decide that we are the best firm to represent you, then we will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve.