Motorcycle Accident Victim Can’t Admit Summary to Impeach Witness

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2007 Opinion of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a decision of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas and denied a new trial for a PA motorcycle accident rider. The motorcycle rider was on State Route 64 in Centre County when a tractor-trailer operator made a left turn up ahead of him. The rider crashed his cycle into the back of the trailer. A Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and his employer.

At trial the defense alleged that the motorcycle rider was driving too fast, was inattentive and had plenty of time to avoid the motorcycle-truck accident. Another tractor-trailer driver was called as a defense witness to testify at trial. The rider’s attorney cross-examined him regarding alleged prior inconsistent statements he gave to the investigating police officer and an insurance company representative.

The Centre County Trial Judge refused to admit into evidence the summaries of the witness’ statements. The jury found the motorcycle rider 53% at fault for the crash and his personal injury was dismissed. The Appeals Court upheld the lower court ruling since a summary of a witness’s statement can’t be used for impeachment purposes unless it was adopted by the witness as his own. Crovle v. Smith, 918 A.2d 142 (Pa. Super. 2007)