Person Crossing Street Gets Hit by Car, Insurance Company Attorney Argues that Victim At Fault for Wearing Dark Clothing–Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Weighs In
After practicing automobile accident law in Philadelphia for over 33 years, it never ceases to amaze me the lengths that insurance adjusters and their attorneys will go to unscrupulously delay, deny, and defend an insurance claim that should be paid with certainty.
In a recent case, a victim was knocked into a state of unconsciousness by an automobile traveling down the highway. There was extensive property damage to the striking vehicle and it was stained with blood and flesh. Clearly the factual circumstances indicated that the striking vehicle was at fault. However, the defense of the case is based upon the fact that the victim was dressed in dark clothes and was not able to be seen by the striking driver prior to impact. Defense counsel argued a charge of negligence cannot be substantiated against the striking driver. The pedestrian was struck on a roadway that was well lit and the striking vehicle had its head lights on with nothing to obstruct its view.
The law of Pennsylvania clearly indicates that the defendant’s failure to see the victim does not exculpate him from liability as Pennsylvania law requires “unremitting diligence” when at the wheel of a car, which encompasses a constant viewing of what lies ahead. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has opined that even if momentarily the plaintiff or victim was in the defendant’s line of vision and did not see him only one conclusion is possible, and that is that the defendant or operator of the striking vehicle was not looking. Not looking while operating a motor vehicle which can crash, mangle, or cripple is negligence per se.
In Pennsylvania, the law not only requires a motorist to look where he is going, but while looking to have his car under such control that he can stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
Perhaps it is time for insurance companies to educate their adjusters rather that train them to systemically and deliberately manipulate victims of car accidents in Pennsylvania.