Risky Business: Bump and run
By Ashleigh Petersen Mary Ann Gormly

Risky Business: Bump and run

Illegal parking leads to lawsuit and credibility issues

A woman was waiting in the car for her aunt who had run into the drug store to pick up a prescription. She was in a No Parking Zone, but it would only be for a minute. What could it hurt, right?

Turns out it could hurt quite a lot. As the woman sat in the backseat with her daughter, a large truck towing a trailer and a piece of equipment came down the narrow street. The truck driver swung slightly to the left to make his right turn. Suddenly, a person on his left opened a car door to exit the vehicle.

The truck driver had to change course mid-turn and moved back to the right. As he did that, the trailer bumped the back of a car and then scraped along the side of the woman’s car parked in front of the drug store. The truck driver wasn’t aware he had hit anything and continued on his way.

The woman was jostled and tossed around the back seat a bit. Her left shoulder struck the locked seatbelt and then the left side of her body struck the interior of the rear driver’s side door. She was very thankful she had kept her daughter safely buckled in her car seat.

Her aunt came out of the drug store just as the truck was turning the corner. She did not see what happened but saw the damage and listened to her niece explain the details as she knew them. She got in the car on the passenger side and crawled across the front seat when the driver’s side door would not open. She thought the car was 3 to 4 ft. closer to the corner than when she went into the store but couldn’t be sure. They followed the direction the truck turned and were able to track him down.

The driver explained that he did not realize he had hit the car and apologized for not stopping. He called his manager who called the police and met them all in the parking lot where they were now located.

The accident was reported to the insurance company for the rental store that owned the truck, and an investigation was opened. The woman that was in the backseat of the car underwent chiropractic treatment, physical therapy and arthroscopic surgery to her left shoulder. She was 30 years of age at that time and claimed to have suffered injuries to her left shoulder, lumbar spine and cervical spine.

The woman that was injured hired an attorney shortly after the accident occurred and the attorney presented a demand just shy of $1 million. The attorney for the insurance company did not believe the settlement should be anywhere near that high but did agree that both sides had some credibility issues.

The injured woman would have credibility issues because her complaints were not compatible with her level of activity as depicted on social media. Conversely, she also could be viewed as a sympathetic witness as she was a single mother and her own mother had died when she was 18 months old.

The truck driver gave a credible deposition testimony; however, he may not be well liked for leaving the scene of the accident. A jury would be left to determine whether he did or did not feel the impact.

The settlement was just over $100,000.

Mary Ann Gormly is a loss analyst for ARA Insurance, Overland Park, Kan. For more information, call 800-821-6580 or visit ARAinsure.com.

Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the digital communications manager for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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