GMR Wins Philadelphia Jury Trial on Liability in Parking Lot Collision

GMR Partner Jeff Tenthoff won a Philadelphia jury trial for his client exiting from a handicap parking space. It was a lovely sunny day in May when the Plaintiffs were entering the Aldi’s parking lot with their twin young children in the back seat, and a head-on collision occurred.  The plaintiffs claimed that Defendant pulled forward out of a handicap parking spot in a negligent manner, either without proper clearance or too wide, so that Defendant entered into Plaintiff’s path of travel.  On the other hand, Defendant claimed to have reversed out of her parking spot before proceeding just 2 -3 car lengths before Plaintiff entered her lane of travel and struck the front of her vehicle before continuing into a parked vehicle. 

Despite occurring in a parking lot, the property damage depicted in the photographs was rather significant, with both airbags deploying.  Plaintiffs bound by the limited tort threshold had won close to $50,000 at arbitration. Jeff argued that the scene photographs and apparent points of impact from the property damage photographs supported his client’s version of events. He also argued that the simple fact that Plaintiffs’ vehicle bounced off of Defendant’s vehicle, striking a parked car, while Defendant’s vehicle stopped at the point of impact demonstrates which driver was driving at an excessive rate of speed and failed to have their vehicle under control. 

While Jeff is confident that he would have won on the issue of the limited tort threshold, the jury returned a defense verdict as to liability. Afterward, the jury indicated that Jeff’s use of an overhead image of the parking lot and his method of having his client explain her actions while marking the overhead image made it much more persuasive than the Plaintiffs’ use of street view images.