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Physical contact not required to be held responsible in car accident

Many times it is just as important to pay attention to what you are doing while driving as it is to pay attention to what everyone else is doing while they are driving. Alertness and awareness of all of the surroundings while on the road can make the difference between being in a serious motor vehicle accident and not being in car accident. However, no matter how careful someone is while driving, things can happen that are out of the driver's control, which can cause a car accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death.

A Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled that a driver can be held liable and responsible in a car accident even if that person did not make actual, physical contact with another vehicle. In October 2009, a man leaving a gas station made an illegal turn across two lanes of traffic. In making this turn, the driver caused a driver in an SUV to slam on the brakes. This driver's brakes locked up and he ended up striking another vehicle. The person in the vehicle that was hit by the SUV was killed.

The Superior Court decided that the deadly chain of events in this accident were the fault of the driver making the illegal turn across two lanes of traffic. Although that vehicle never came into physical contact with either vehicle involved in the accident, his actions did enough damage in the court's eyes to rule as if it did.

Those individuals that cause car accidents should be held liable for their actions, especially if those actions result in serious bodily injury or death to others on the roadways. For victims and families of victims in car accident cases, this opens up a whole new way of commencing wrongful death suits in court.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania Superior Court: Physical impact not required to be 'involved' in car accident," Gina Passarella, Nov. 5, 2012

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