I hit your car in the rear. IT's YOUR FAULT!


I just finished jury duty last week (car accident). One party suing the other for medical bills and auto damage. I couldn’t believe the defense’s argument that the plaintiff “suddenly stopped” (he was stopping for a red light).

In Connecticut, one can look up legal paperwork (no, I didn’t do this during the trial). I was amazed at how many other defense attorneys file “answers” with “the plaintiff was more responsible as (s)he failed to keep a proper lookout” or “failed to steer right or left” so as to avoid a collision. One attorney even argues that the poor guy being rear ended should have SOUNDED HIS HORN!

What’s next? A defense like “Well sir, the accident is your fault since if you had stayed home it wouldn’t have happened!”

Are we supposed to be Ken Bernsteins or Doug Kalittas when we drive?


Whenever any of our staff were involved in an accident, the National Safety Council was usually quoted. In essence no one was ever fault-less even if sitting at a stop light. The verbiage was something like should have seen the car approaching and taken evasive action, or failure to allow a safe distance between themselves and the car approaching, and so on. So I guess I can see why the defense would make the argument. Of course the jury decides based on the individual circumstances. If the person in front was at a stop light putting make up on and not paying attention, and the road was icy so one should have been more alert, etc. I can see a 50-50 split.


The job of the attorney for the plaintiff in a car accident case is to portray the defendant as being reckless.
The job of the attorney for the defendant in a car accident case is to portray the plaintiff as being similarly guilty of some sort of wrong-doing.

Like it or not, that is the way that the legal system works, in every country with which I have any familiarity.

Juries have to sort through the detritus spewed by the attorneys for both sides, in order to attempt to find some sort of truth. Judges will instruct jurors to ignore particularly ridiculous/baseless/legally untenable arguments.

Are you really as naïve as you portray yourself to be?

There was an old joke, which involved an intoxicated priest who had rear-ended someone at a stop light, and a cop who tried to absolve the priest from guilt. Upon his arrival at the scene of the accident, the cop asked the priest the following question: Faith and begorrah, father…How fast was this miscreant going when he backed up into your car?

That was a joke involving a biased cop, but it is not very far removed from the legal gymnastics that have always been employed in a courtroom. If you aren’t aware of this reality, I just don’t know what else to say.


Well, thanks for the kind reply, VDC driver. The jury of 6 of us laughed at what was presented at us. I’m sure you, being of superior mind, would not have. Sorry I brought it up


I would have given all of the presented testimony and evidence due consideration, applying the best principles of legal jurisprudence. Apparently you and your fellow jurors did likewise–as you should have.

Why would you assume that I would have decided in a different manner than you and your fellow jurors?
I am certainly not questioning your decision. However, I am wondering about your level of naiveté regarding the ways of the word in general, and the ways of the legal system in particular.

I’m not sorry that you brought it up, and you shouldn’t be either.


People try to get away with all kinds of nonsense these days that is just insane. I repair computers and it isn’t unusual to have someone tell you “There was nothing wrong with it when I brought it to you.” And then there are the people who bring you a laptop for example. They tell you it needs a virus removed which is a simple job. You open it up and find the screen glass is falling out of the thing. Of course they try to blame you for breaking it when they know full well it was broken when it came in as this isn’t a cheap repair. I now open up alll laptops to look for any obvious damage before taking them away. I have actually had a few people look sheepish when I open them up and they see that I see the broken screen. I know what they were going to pull. Auto mechanics and others who do repairs on anything deal with the same crap.


Why anyone would be surprised that defense statements don’t always make sense or actually ridiculous is a little disappointing. Exhibit A; The Twinkie defence


I was in an accident in CA on Hwy 1, had been following a car along the curvy hilly highway south of Carmel, in my 68 ranchero,
Some doctor letting his kid without a license drive, I rounded a curve and realized the other car was stopped, due to an early morning heavy mist or dew and a downhill slope I ended up hitting him in the rear. Flattened the point of the bumper so my radiator was pushed into the fan was the only damage I saw, a tow naturally.

The kid thought somebody was to close to the center lane and evidently slammed on hi brakes. My insurance company fought paying damages, due to unnecessary stopping on a highway. After about 6 months the other party claimed whiplash and the insurance company settled, and dropped me.

I was not ticketed, not sure about the other driver.



I hear you! I understand and appreciate what you’re saying. The courts seem to be full of this stuff.

I was on a jury in a trial that lasted for 5 days! The inconvenience was that it was not set to go that long, but at the end of each day (fifty mile round trip in bad weather) we found out we’d be back again. Try doing your job where you are employed while that’s happening.

It ended in a hung jury because of insufficient evidence and witnesses (ill-prepared), among other things. This case was later retried and after several days ended with the same result. Tax payer time and money down the drain. That was one week of my life I won’t be getting back.

It’s scary being on a jury and finding out how some people think! I’d bet there are plenty of cases similar to yours that ended with a verdict against the driver of the legally stopped vehicle!

I’m selected for jury duty again this year… Feel the magic!


I sat on a jury where the plaintiff sued a mall for unsafe conditions. He said he couldn’t leave the building through the long, scary hallway behind the store for fear that someone would break into the hallway through the locked doors to the parking lot. I thought it was poppycock. Apparently the judge did too, since he dismissed the case as frivolous. The lawyers for the mall asked to see the jury, and we said OK. They asked for a report card and we asked how this case could have gone to trial. Apparently the jewelry store owner had a good business on the other side of town and wanted a second store. It wasn’t doing well, and he tried to end his contract with a law suit. We all saw through it and so did the judge. After that explanation, I knew why the plaintiffs lawyer looked like he had appendicitis during the trial. He must have felt terrible for presenting the case, but the store owner deserved a shot, even if he was a liar.


huh? what was the person at the stop light supposed to do to avoid the collision? Paying attention is not relevant.


My mother worked for an insurance company and she heard some doosies. There was one where the argument went something like this, If your client wasn’t driving down the street at that time, our client would not have hit him when she backed out of her driveway.

Stopping for a red light in some places is a risky situation as many drivers expect the driver in front of them to run the light if it is within a couple of seconds of turning red.


“What’s a person supposed to do at a stop light?”

Well oh contrar. A defensive driver always attempts to provide themselves with an out. Even at a stop light, you can leave room to move ahead to avoid a crash and leave room between you and the car ahead of you to be able to move your car to avoid a crash. That’s why if you cannot see the rear wheels of the car ahead of you when stopped, you are too close. Just the way the NSC sees it. Think about it. How many times have you been at a stop light and continue to watch a car coming up from behind to see if they will stop or not? That’s being defensive. You don’t just sit there to get hit.


Yes @bing I was at a stop light, heard screeching wheel behind, rear view mirror oh crap, only wheelie I ever pulled on my Triumph motorcycle. Still on Icy Snowy roads stop with plenty of space to move ahead or out of the way if I see someone without enough brakes to prevent them from hitting me.


What’s that they say about winning a court case? It all depends on who tells the best story.


My favorite ‘most humorous accident report to an insurance company’ is: " When the light turned red, the car in front of me unexpectedly stopped"! I have been rear ended while stopped at a red light and served on a 6 person jury trying a complete idiot for reckless driving. My description of those would be a short novel. When I was a commercial driver I had a woman driver ahead of me gently rolled back into my front bumper with no damage to either vehicle. She jumped out of her car screaming with a SE Asian accent. “You hit me back”! “You pay”! Since there was no damage my employer “no pay”.


I had been working for one trucking company for 16 years when they went broke. A bunch of us were killing time waiting for paychecks that never came. The dispatcher was throwing out old accident reports and we started reading them.

No driver ever filled out a report where he thought he was at fault.

One driver wound up stopping with his front wheels in the back seat of the car in front of him. It was not his fault he said because " She was driving too close in front of me."

Another said " it was not my fault I hit that bridge, I have driven under it many times before, but this time a train went over and pushed the bridge down just as I was going under."

Many reports said " He came out of nowhere. " Which just announces to accident investigators that you are at fault because they have never found one case of mysterious sudden appearance.


:neutral_face: :joy::joy::joy: I have to give points for creativity I suppose…


FYI, the adage “It’s always your fault if you rear-end somebody” isn’t necessarily true. For instance, if you violate another’s ROW by pulling into their lane while going much slower (think “car on shoulder pulls onto interstate directly ahead of semi”), it would be your accident, for violating their ROW.

Almost happened to me: 4-lane intersection, without a dedicated left-turn lane. A car was in the left lane, waiting for traffic to clear, and car going straight was just behind. Apparently, the second car got tired of waiting, and made an unsignaled lane change…just as I was approaching in the right lane, with a ~30 mph speed differential.

Fortunately, I’d already seen the guy driving like a [hygiene product], and I suspected he might pull something stupid. I got stopped…only to get rear-ended by the guy following ME.


I sat on a jury in a civil liability case involving a motorcyclist. He was suing for damages because he could no longer qualify for his pilots license due to a knee replacement suffered because he laid his bike down to avoid a car driver entering from a cross street. The car driver supposedly entered the intersection, then backed up quickly enough to let the bike slide (or pop up on its wheels - no one was sure) past the car into the ditch. The car driver was a postman who drove his postal route 6 days a week and hadn’t had an accident in something like 25 years and was a motorcyclist himself.

The rider’s knee problem was directly related to his failure to do his therapy after the knee replacement and the accident reconstruction showed that the bike had more than enough space to stop if the rider hadn’t locked the front brake and dropped the bike. The jury deliberated for an hour because we wanted to do our duty plus they bought us lunch but we didn’t need that much time. The 5 days this thing went on was at least 3 too many.