A motorcycle driver who was injured when he was hit by an SUV that turned into his lane will get another chance to win damages from the crash after a majority in the Virginia Supreme Court rejected a jury instruction on contributory negligence, reports Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
The court found that it takes a little more than a “scintilla” (a tiny spark or trace of proof) for a personal injury defendant to tell the jury that the plaintiff was at least partially at fault for the accident.
In the trial Turner v. Perryman, it was found that the defendant, Perryman, was traveling westbound in an SUV on Ashland Road in Hanover County approaching an intersection with Greenwood Road, while the plaintiff, Scott Turner, was headed eastbound on Ashland on his motorcycle. As Perryman was going to turn left, he put his left signal on and slowed to a crawl at the intersection. Perryman began to turn and said that he did not see the approaching motorcycle because of the hill that the intersection sits on.
Turner was traveling at about 40 miles an hour and was around 50 yards away from the SUV when he saw the vehicle. At about 30 yards, the SUV started turning into his lane. Turner did not believe that we could swerve around the SUV to avoid a collision, and instead decided to apply the break to lessen the impact. Turner struck the right rear side of Perryman’s SUV.
Perryman had to produce more than a “scintilla” of proof that Turner was partially at fault in the crash, but was unable to do so according to the Supreme Court. Perryman failed to prove that Turner’s decision to apply the breaks and not attempt to swerve to avoid that crash was a proximate cause of the crash, which is one of the essential elements in a contributory negligence case.
We will keep you updated as this case unfolds.
The Parrish Law Firm motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer works with northern Virginia residents who have been injured because of another party’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.
A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.