New Trial Ordered For Driver Hit by Police Car

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2009 decision by the PA Commonwealth Court affirmed a York County Judge’s ruling in favor of a Pennsylvania car accident victim. A woman was driving to work in York when she was hit by a police car going the wrong way on a one-way street. The police officer testified at trial that he was responding to an emergency call. He claimed that he had activated his emergency lights and was using his siren at intersections.

An eyewitness testified that just prior to the car crash, the police officer was driving 15 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. The PA car accident victim told the jury that she did not hear or see the police car before the collision. After the evidence was presented, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the police officer and the City of York. This was based upon their belief that he was not negligent due to the emergency vehicle doctrine set forth in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code.

After the trial concluded, the York County PA judge ruled that the police officer was guilty of negligence per se. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court agreed and ordered that a new trial take place to determine if the PA car accident victim was contributory negligent and, if necessary, enter a damage award. Lahr v. City of York, 972 A.2d 41 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2009)

For a car accident consultation call 800-980-4842