Friday, August 3, 2012

Automobile Law - Pedestrian v. Auto

The Long Road to Justice

Background and Facts:

This is a pedestrian v. automobile case.  On June 14, 2007 my client was walking home from her daughter's house in Reading, PA. It was about 8:55 p.m. She decided to cross Penn Street and in order to save time crossed in the middle of the block. She was sure to clear both ways of cars before she proceeded. When she was almost all the way across the street on the other side, she was struck by a car. The driver of that car did not stop despite watching her cross the street the whole way.

First Trial:

We filed a lawsuit in 2008 and three years later in January 2011 had a trial in Berks County Court of Common Pleas. The Honorable Judge Jeffrey Schmehl presided over the jury trial. After an the close of the case and an hour of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict. The jury found that the plaintiff (my client) was 75% responsible and the defendant was 25% responsible for the incident. However, the jury awarded my client $25,000.00 for her injuries. Judge Schmehl "molded" the verdict and entered Judgment in favor of the defendant. This verdict was inconsistent. The verdict could be interpreted in 2 ways. 1) that the plaintiff loses or 2) the plaintiff is entitled to $25,000.00. Instead of molding the verdict the Judge should have sent the jury back for further deliberations to clarify the verdict. He did not. It was on this basis the we got a new trial.

Second Trial:

On July 30, 2012 we had a second trial. We presented the same evidence and arguments. The argument simplified is that no matter why a pedestrian is in the road, a driver does NOT have the right to “run them down” if they see them in time to take action to avoid striking them. I think this is a common sense argument; something that most jurors and people in general already know.

This time the jury returned a verdict of 50% liability on the plaintiff and 50% liability on the defendant and awarded damages. This was probably what the first jury intended on doing.

Final Outcome:

Justice was served in this case after 5 long years. The jury reached a “common sense” outcome and my client was finally able to get some compensation for injuries she suffered so many years ago. However, the battle for justice continues. Since no offer to settle was ever made to the plaintiff a Petition for Delay Damages pursuant to PA Rule of Civil Procedure is being filed. This will add over $2,400.00 to the verdict. In addition a Bill of Costs is being filed seeking compensation for costs the plaintiff was forced to pay in getting her justice.

There are no appealable issues for either side so this will be final judgment in this case.


It gives me great pleasure to fight for individuals who are hurt in accidents or other cases. This is just an example of how hard I and the other attorneys at Haggerty, Goldberg, Schleifer & Kupersmith, P.C. (HGSK) will fight to get justice for the people. If you or anyone you know are ever injured in an accident, a work accident, or have any other case (hopefully not), please let me know.


I can be reached at 267-350-6600