Traffic regulations are carefully designed by those with experience in understanding terrain, vehicle performance, and ergonomics. They serve to minimize congestion and maximize safety. When someone waves another motorist on in traffic, it can interfere with the carefully considered traffic flow design and signage. Waving another driver on through traffic gives the impression that it is safe to proceed. However, this may not necessarily be the case.
If you wave another driver on, you can be exposing yourself to liability if they proceed and get involved in a car accident. The implications for that liability will vary by state depending on the laws governing car insurance. In Pennsylvania, car insurance laws apply a modified comparative fault standard. The impact of this is that insurance companies and courts will consider fault of the various drivers involved in the collision.
In applying the modified comparative fault standard, courts will ask a jury to decide, based on the evidence:
- The total dollar amount of plaintiff’s damages
- The percent of fault of each party
An award will be determined by reducing the plaintiff’s damages by a percentage equal to his or her share of fault. The modified aspect of comparative fault means that a party that has been found to have been more than 50 percent responsible will not be entitled to recover for any damages.
There are nuances to consider when evaluating liability. For example, an option is available to choose no-fault personal injury coverage. For these policies, injured parties are expected to seek compensation first from their own insurance coverage for the cost of medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket losses related to the accident regardless of fault. This option limits claims against at-fault drivers as well.
Waving someone through may seem like a nice and harmless thing to do. However, considering the risk involved, it is best not to wave anyone through traffic. A better approach would be to allow a gap in front of you that would allow access but avoid waving another driver on or even making eye contact. In this way, liability cannot shift, as each driver remains responsible for their controlling their own vehicle.
How Is Waving Someone Through Analyzed?
Courts have considered cases in which one driver waved another through who was then involved in an accident. Courts review what evidence is available that shows the relative position of the drivers and other vehicles nearby. Evidence can be witness statements, tread marks, vehicular damage, and the like. It is important in cases of this kind for the necessary evidence to be gathered and evaluated correctly.
A driver who was waved through and proceeds, even though he or she could see that the motorist waving on was unable to determine if there were other vehicles in the way, is not likely to prevail. A driver who was waved through and proceeds, when it appeared as if the driver waving them through had a clear view of the traffic conditions, is more likely to prevail.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Advocate for Clients Involved in Car Accidents
If you have been involved in a car accident, reach out to the Delaware County car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. Our experienced legal team will explain your rights and advise on how to proceed to receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Learn more at a free consultation by filling out an online registration form or calling (610) 892-4940. Our office is in Media, Pennsylvania. We represent clients in Media, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, West Chester, and throughout Pennsylvania.