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    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #1

    Jan 28, 2012, 08:00 AM
    Automible accident issues
    As a frequent contributor here on the AMHD law forum, I respect (although don't always agree with) the views of the other contributors here. My wife has run into a situation with respect to which I seek the views of the others.

    On the night before last she got into an automobile accident. It was shortly after dark when she began crossing a 5-lane street (two lanes either way plus a center turning lane). She looked to her left, saw nothing, and drove as far as the center turning lane. She paused, looked to her right, and again saw nothing. As she proceeded across the last two lanes, a vehicle smacked into her from her right.

    Thank God, she was not seriously injured, nor was our daughter, who was in the passenger seat. Our daughter recalls that, shortly before impact, she saw two oncoming vehicles. The one in the inner lane missed them, swerving past them via the turning lane. The other vehicle, which our daughter reports did not have it's lights on, impacted the right rear door.

    They were transported to the hospital where a police officer interviewed them. I arrived as soon as I could, after the officer had departed.

    Yesterday evening the officer called my wife and told her that she was being charged. He instructed her to come (an hour and a half drive-one way) and pick up the ticket. I don't think she has a duty to do this. Can she be penalized for refusing to go get it?

    And, of course, what are your opinions about her liability? If, as our daughter recalls, the impacting car didn't have it's lights on, that would tend to avoid a finding of negligence &/or careless driving, I would think. But the fact that the other car evidently did have it's lights on complicates matters.
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    #2

    Jan 28, 2012, 08:08 AM
    Moderator: Please delete this duplicate thread. I tried to edit the title (miss-spelled "automobile") and inadvertently made two threads. Thanks in advance.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #3

    Jan 28, 2012, 08:13 AM
    As you know, this is what I "do." If your wife pulled into a lane of traffic when it wasn't safe to do so, she's at fault. In NY the other driver a responsibility to try to avoid the accident - blow the horn, swerve and failure to do so will cause your wife's negligence/responsibility to be lessened by the percentage of the other driver's fault.

    What is the lighting in the area? Headlights not on, of course, is a problem - but other than your wife's passenger (your daughter) what did other driver say (if any other drivers said anything).

    Your daughter saw TWO oncoming vehicles before the accident - was one a close call and the other a hit?

    In NY (and I'm not in Florida) failure to come and pick up the ticket (which is issued in lieu of arrest) results in a warrant.

    All legal stuff aside - how are your wife and daughter?
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #4

    Jan 28, 2012, 08:31 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ... What is the lighting in the area? Headlights not on, of course, is a problem - but other than your wife's passenger (your daughter) what did other driver say (if any other drivers said anything).
    ...
    Shortly after dark. There are street lights.

    I've asked for the police report, but haven't received it yet. Probably will get it faxed to me Monday. So I don't yet know what the others have said.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ... Your daughter saw TWO oncoming vehicles before the accident - was one a close call and the other a hit?
    ...
    Correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ... In NY (and I'm not in Florida) failure to come and pick up the ticket (which is issued in lieu of arrest) results in a warrant.
    Very well, I guess we will go get it today then. Good to know. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ... All legal stuff aside - how are your wife and daughter?
    Fine, thanks. My wife has some aches and pains. She has a slight bruise on her leg. The diamond came out of her ring and we can't find it. And of course she is upset about the whole thing. My daughter is fine.

    Those air bags are great! :p
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    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,305, Reputation: 7692
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    #5

    Jan 28, 2012, 10:26 AM
    Guess different here in GA, the ticket is either mailed where you sign for it, or they have a officer come to you. So personally I would talk to the OIC or the Capt of the traffic division and question having to come after it.

    The situation on the lights will be, not of course a defense against the ticket most likely, esp if one car barely missed by changing lanes and the other car did not miss. But it may play a role in insurance percentages.
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    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #6

    Jan 28, 2012, 10:37 AM
    Good, glad she's all right. I asked about the two cars because I would ask (and you can hire me and I can fly to Florida as soon as you buy my ticket) if your wife pulled out in front of two cars.

    Looks bad for her.

    When I get there I'll help look for the diamond so you'll be getting two services for the price of one.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #7

    Jan 28, 2012, 10:49 AM
    I have to agree that it looks bad. It was clearly her responsibility to make sure there was time to clear both lanes before proceeding. The fact that the cars were close enough to have hit (or just missed) her shows she didn't exercise due care.

    Glad everyone is OK though.
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    smearcase Posts: 2,392, Reputation: 316
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    #8

    Jan 28, 2012, 12:25 PM
    It's worth the call to see if they will handle her signing for the ticket by some other means. Maybe (big maybe) they would fax her a copy of the ticket which she could sign and fax back. I had a problem a few days ago with a couthouse matter where I had not entered the amount of a check in numbers, just written amount had been entered which I thought was going to cause me a similar wasted drive. But the clerk I talked to found the check, verified that the number was missing and indicated that it wouldn't be a problem. I didn't ask any more questions at that point. I think I would run it by whoever answers the phone before talking to the officer. Where I worked in highway engineering, those center lanes are called "suicide lanes. They serve a great purpose but overall probably don't increase the safety element.
    This is one state's (CA) handbook quote regarding center turn lanes:

    "Center Left Turn Lanes

    A center left turn lane is located in the middle of a two-way street and is marked on both sides by two painted lines. The inner line is broken and the outer line is solid. If a street has a center left turn lane, you must use it to prepare for or make a left turn, or to prepare for or make a permitted U-turn (CVC 21460.5 (c)).



    You may only drive for 200 feet in the center left turn lane. This lane is not a regular traffic lane or a passing lane. To turn left from this lane, signal, look over your shoulder, and drive completely inside the center left turn lane. Do not stop with the back of your vehicle blocking traffic. Make sure the lane is clear in both directions and then turn only when it is safe. Look for vehicles coming toward you in the same lane, preparing to start their left turn.

    When turning left from a side street or driveway, signal and wait until it is safe. Then you may drive into the center left turn lane. Enter traffic only when it is safe.

    You may drive across a center left turn lane to turn left or to turn into a driveway."

    I realize that it is not your state. Maybe you can find something in the FL handbook. CA law seems to be based on lefts or u-turns only from center turn lanes.

    Most vehicles will not fit into a center turning lane (ten to twelve feet wide) in a straight across movement without infringing on one or both through lanes.

    That sounds like a t-bone hit which could have been very devastating. We are all happy that it wasn't.
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    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #9

    Jan 28, 2012, 03:06 PM
    She was crossing the highway. I didn't see that she in the turn lane. What did I miss? I also don't see a t-bone. Where was her car struck?

    There's a big difference between being ticketed and making a correction - but hopefully "AK" will check first.
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    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #10

    Jan 28, 2012, 08:39 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by smearcase View Post
    It's worth the call to see if they will handle her signing for the ticket by some other means. Maybe (big maybe) they would fax her a copy of the ticket which she could sign and fax back. ...
    One would think so. But this is Florida. Lots of sunshine and very little common sense. "No, sorry, our rules won't allow that", we were told. :(

    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    She was crossing the highway. I didn't see that she in the turn lane. What did I miss? I also don't see a t-bone. Where was her car struck?
    ...
    We went back there today. Picked up the ticket. It's for careless driving, a non-criminal penalty. $150 or so. So I guess that wouldn't justify a round-trip plane trip from NY. Sorry, JKT. ;)

    Looked again for the diamond in the sunlight. I figured we should be able to see it sparkle that way, unless it was covered by dirt or something. Looked in the car, at the scene at the side of the street where they took her out and put her in the ambulance. Asked the ambulance crew to look in their vehicle. They tore it apart, they say. No luck. Oh well. :(

    There are 3, not 2 lanes on either side, plus the turning lane, for a total of 7.
    Anyway, she further clairified what happened. She crossed the south-bound 3 lanes, turned north so her car was in the turning lane facing north, looked in the right hand mirror. She saw cars coming, so she waited until they passed. Then, when she saw nothing else coming, she turned right, to cross the 3 north-bound lanes, and started to cross them. She heard a noise and gunned it. Personally I don't think that would have made any difference in such a short distance, but anyway it was there that she got hit; so yes, it would be a t-bone. Her car was struck at the right-rear door.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ... There's a big difference between being ticketed and making a correction ...
    Sorry, I'm not following you there.
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    #11

    Jan 29, 2012, 09:09 AM
    The correction referred to paying the fine but not putting numbers on the check and handling the matter by telephone. I didn't see how this related to your experience.

    I would make an argument concerning headlights, the other vehicle's speed, the fact that the car was not struck in the front but in the side indicating a little more time to avoid. I would argue that the other vehicle didn't try to avoid (had to see your wife for a second or so because it was a side hit), no horn (if that is the case). First car had time to avoid, why didn't second?

    It's not going to change much but it's all you've got.

    Too bad about the trip to Florida BUT I'm still willing to help look for the diamond (which an EMT is probably wearing). Remind me to tell you the story about my late husband's watch which disappeared on an ambulance run. Then we called an ambulance a second time and the EMT was wearing it. Not that the EMT wasn't a genius but... same house and an expensive engraved watch? Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    With apologies to all honest EMTs out there.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
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    #12

    Jan 29, 2012, 10:25 AM
    Trouble is the stone came out of the ring. Sort of like trying to find a needle in a proverbial haystack.

    Here is what the location looked like yesterday, in the daylight (looking in the direction the other vehicles came from):


    I put together a sketch.



    I'm thinking that the "avoiding" vehicle probably didn't go all the way into the turning lane, as witnesses report, and that the collision may have happened in the outside lane. I am doubtful that our car was thrust that far. But maybe, I guess.


    Here is a view taken from Google Earth Streetview, showing what it have looked like (except of course the Streetview image is taken in daytime) from the perspective of the oncoming cars. My wife's path is shown in orange.
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    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #13

    Jan 29, 2012, 10:53 AM
    Hello AK:

    Sounds like you got the accident handled... But, I'm still pissed at them for making you come to get the ticket... And, I'm pissed at you for doing it.

    excon
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    #14

    Jan 29, 2012, 11:37 AM
    Question - your wife pulled out, crossed the first lane of traffic (the curb lane) and was in the second lane of traffic (passing lane) when she was hit?

    Does she know if the car that hit her was always in the lane in which he hit her? Did he/she change lanes?

    Also - and I'm just trying to make a case here - were there skids from the other vehicle? Unusual to pull out in front of someone and get hit in door - usually it's front end.
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    #15

    Jan 29, 2012, 01:09 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by excon View Post
    ... But, I'm still pissed at them for making you come to get the ticket... And, I'm pissed at you for doing it.
    ...
    If Judy Kay Tee was correct with her suggestion that they would have then arrested her, I would have been way more pissed at having to bail her out. As it turns out, it was only an infraction; which probably would not have been arrestible. But I didn't know that at the time.

    Better safe than sorry.

    To add insult to injury, he wasn't there when we arrrived yesterday, and had not left the ticket as he primised. I was pissed at that. But he had a reasonable excuse and apologized. I accepted his apology.


    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    Question - your wife pulled out, crossed the first lane of traffic (the curb lane) and was in the second lane of traffic (passing lane) when she was hit?

    Does she know if the car that hit her was always in the lane in which he hit her? Did he/she change lanes?

    ...
    No, I don't think either my wife nor my daughter know the answers to those questions. There was a suggestion from someone (unclear who) that the driver who hit them (a "he") may no have been able to change lanes because the car to his left (the "avoiding" car, I have called it) was first in his way until the avoiding car evaded to the left.

    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    ...
    Also - and I'm just trying to make a case here - were there skids from the other vehicle? Unusual to pull out in front of someone and get hit in door - usually it's front end.
    Good point. In other words, he should have had time to hit the brakes. As I understand it, there was another car behind him who also was a witness. As I say, I hope to get the report tomorrow and may know more then.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #16

    Jan 29, 2012, 01:14 PM
    I'm a little unclear on your reproduction. Was your wife trying to cross the entire road? Was there a road or driveway on the other side she wanted to enter? Was the intersection straight through or was the road she was trying to enter offset?

    However, it does certainly appear that she tried to cross the balance of the road before traffic was clear enough.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #17

    Jan 29, 2012, 01:57 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottGem View Post
    I'm a little unclear on your reproduction. Was your wife trying to cross the entire road? Was there a road or driveway on the other side she wanted to enter? Was the intersection straight through or was the road she was trying to enter offset?
    ...
    If you will refer to the last picture I posted above (the Google Earth Street View), you will see where she was trying to go. They stopped at a photo shop and got hungry, so they decided to go to the Popeye's across the street. She drove out of the parking lot you can see to the left, and was attempting to get into the Popeye's parking lot.

    Yes, there is an offset.
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    #18

    Jan 29, 2012, 02:26 PM
    I'm interested in what the Police Report says. If you're not comfortable posting it you can always email.

    MY question to the "Defendant" would be attempts to avoid - that INCLUDES horn, brakes, swerving.

    I would also like to know when he first saw your wife.

    Did she stop and then enter the roadway? Did she just enter the roadway?

    - All questions I ask in situations like this.

    Another hint (if it goes that far) is to ask him her speed. Half of the time people say they never saw the other vehicle... and then they proceed to tell me the speed of the other vehicle. Obviously it can't be both ways.

    I act like this is the biggest case in the World... but these are all things to ponder.

    I think I have whiplash from reading about this.
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #19

    Jan 29, 2012, 06:44 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by AK lawyer View Post
    ...
    Yes, there is an offset.
    No, I guess not. Not according to this:

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    #20

    Jan 30, 2012, 09:14 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by JudyKayTee View Post
    I'm interested in what the Police Report says. If you're not comfortable posting it you can always email.
    ...
    As you know, we are discussing by P.M. how to do that.

    But the report contains a narrative as follows:

    "... [My wife was] attempting to make a right turn across all lanes of traffic into a parking lot on the east side. [She] turned in front of a vehicle traveling north in the inside lane of State Road 85. That vehicle attempted to avoid [her] by turning toward the center lane which blocked V2's view of [my wife's ] V1. V2 attempted to avoid the vehicle and changed to the center lane where it struck V1. W1 stated it appeared D1 did not see the on coming traffic. D1 advised she looked and did not see traffic approaching therefore she made the right turn. D1 an P1 [our daughter] were transported by EMS for possible injuries. ..."

    I am formulating a theory: the mysterious "avoiding vehicle" (the driver of which did not stop or make a statement) had no trouble leasurely switching lanes, first to the center lane, and then back to the left lane. But V2 was, if my theory is correct, was "tailgating" the "avoiding vehicle", and as a result was unaware of our vehicle until it was too late. He neglected to slow down, as the "avoiding vehicle" did, but instead tried to go around the "avoiding vehicle", and when it switched back to the left lane, the driver of V2 found himself right at our vehicle, with no room or time left in which to stop.

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