Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What if the accident was my fault?”
A spate of recent tragic incidents shows the dangers posed by motor vehicles do not end when we park them—or when we think we have parked them.
Realtor Jennifer Feuerman died on Saturday evening after she got out of her 2012 Mercedes Benz outside a house she had listed on Bowditch Lane in Center Moriches. Center Moriches is on Long Island, to the east of New York City.
Feuerman evidently left the vehicle running and forgot to shift the transmission to “Park.” The vehicle backed over Feuerman and pinned her under the driver’s side door, Suffolk County police reported. Feuerman, aged 50, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police impounded the Mercedes in order to conduct a safety inspection.
Also on Saturday, a 79-year-old woman in City, Idaho became trapped under her own car when it slid backward as she tried to get out. A 17-year-old boy who saw the incident tried to assist the woman, but police said the car pushed both the boy and the woman across the road and over an embankment, pinning them both under the driver’s side door. The woman suffered significant injuries, while the boy was able to free himself and summon help.
The following day, halfway around the world in Wirral, England, an 83-year-old man named Joe accidently knocked the gear of his Chevrolet Lacetti into “Drive,” causing the vehicle to run him over, killing him. Neighbors found him at the end of his driveway. Sgt. Craig O’Brien of the Roads Policing Unit told the Liverpool Echo that Joe’s death came as a result of “a collision with his own car.”
Accidents involving unoccupied motor vehicles are actually somewhat common. This past November 30, a man was killed and a woman was seriously injured in Swansea, Wales when a blue Peugeot 406 came rolling down the road upon which the pair were strolling, pinning them beneath the car.
Two British men were killed earlier in 2014 in similar incidents. A 59-year-old man died in November in the town of Nuneaton after being run over by his own car. A 58-year-old man also died in November in Queensferry, Edinburgh when he tried to stop his truck from rolling down a hill.
Back stateside, a woman in Hamden, Connecticut was seriously injured in November when she was run over by her own car, according to NBC News. After running over the woman, the car rolled down a hill, struck a tree, a utility pole and an apartment building.
Less than a month later, 47-year-old Lana Jemmott was in her driveway in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania trying to open the trunk of her car when the vehicle ran her over. Jemmott died of her injuries. Her death was ruled an accident.
In August, 67-year-old Kristen Lorenz parked her car next to her home in Medford, New Jersey but left the transmission in reverse. When she stepped out of her vehicle, the car rolled back and ran over her legs. Lorenz was seriously injured in the accident.
Persons injured in accidents in North Carolina who are partially at fault for the accidents may see their personal injury lawsuits dismissed under the doctrine of contributory negligence. The failure of a person to place a car’s transmission in the “Park” setting, for instance, would likely result in dismissal on the basis of contributory negligence. If a person followed the proper protocols for operating a vehicle, however, and the cause of injury was some defect in the vehicle itself, then the person may have claims against the maker of the vehicle for injuries caused by the defect.
If you or someone you know has any questions regarding potential personal injury claims, feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina for a free consultation. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or click here for additional resources.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
Image courtesy of Jason Bain
See Our Related Video from our YouTube channel:
See Our Related Blog Posts: