Most automobile accident cases are based on negligence. To succeed in a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show that he or she would not have been injured “but for” the defendant’s negligence. In some cases, there are multiple causes of an accident, and fault and liability may be apportioned among several defendants.
In a recent case, a Washington appeals court considered whether the trial court had erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant, based on the plaintiff’s failure to establish causation. The plaintiff alleged he was injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver at an intersection near a church. The plaintiff sued the church for negligence, claiming that a tree the church owned obscured the stop sign the driver had run. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the church. The plaintiff appealed.
The plaintiff was crossing the intersection with the right of way when his moped was hit by a car. The other driver told police he had not stopped at the stop sign. He ultimately pled guilty to vehicular assault.