PA Car Crash Victim Gets New Trial

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A December 2011 decision by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a Beaver County Trial Judge’s decision and granted a new trial to a PA car accident victim.  A man was driving in Midland, Beaver County when he stopped at an intersection to make a left turn.

Three police cars were traveling in the opposite direction, all responding to an emergency call while driving at least 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.  None of the officers turned on their emergency lights or their sirens.  The PA auto accident victim let the 1st 2 cop cars pass.  He then made a left turn and was hit by the last officer.

At trial, the Judge denied a request for a per se negligence jury charge against the officer for violating Section 3362 of the PA Vehicle Code regarding maximum posted speed limits.  The Beaver County Judge ruled after post trial motions that he should have instructed the jury on negligence per se as to both drivers.  The Commonwealth Court concurred and remanded the case for a new trial.  Sodders v. Fry, 32 A.3d 882 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011).

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