Un-Happy Days for the Fonz!

Date: March 26, 2009

Fonzie was cruising down Route 348 on his Harley Davidson heading towards his favorite McDonald\’s. Richie was pulling out of the gas station and could have sworn he looked both ways but drove directly into the path of Fonzie. Poor Fonzie went flying over Richie\’s car, landing flat on his back and having some pretty substantial injuries as a result.

Fonzie\’s family contacted an attorney and suit was filed against Richie. During the pre-trial investigation, it was learned that Fonzie was driving his cycle without his light on in violation to the law. Richie took the position that had Fonzie had his light on, his motorcycle would have been more readily apparent, and Richie would not have pulled out into Fonzie\’s path.

Issue: Does Richie have a leg to stand on?

Answer: The jury will be able to take into consideration what will be considered the comparative negligence of Fonzie for not having his light on. Nevertheless, if the jury feels that despite the fact that Fonzie did not have the light on, that Richie, by pulling out, was 50% or more negligent, Fonzie will still be able to recover an award. In all likelihood, in this particular case, a jury will find some degree of negligence on behalf of Fonzie but apportion the lion\’s share against Richie.

There are more and more motorcycles on the road now, weather permitting, and people must realize that a motorcycle rider on his cycle has all the rights and privileges as an automobile, despite the smaller size of the cycle. Likewise, the motorcycle rider must obey all laws that are applicable to vehicles.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.