GMR Wins Philadelphia Jury Trial on Liability In Rear-End Accident Due to Inclement Weather

It was mid-December when Partner Jeffrey Tenthoff’s 20-year-old client, who had received his license just three months earlier, was driving for the first time in a snowstorm. He rear-ended Plaintiff, who was at a complete stop. 

Despite the minor nature of the impact, Plaintiff presented to the ER, alleging neck, shoulder, and back pain since the accident.  Plaintiff treated for approximately seven months with chiropractic and physical therapy, as well as pain management, and eventually underwent two cervical epidural injections and a lumbar epidural injection. 

At trial, Jeff did not concede liability. He argued that his client’s undisputed testimony (due to Plaintiff never observing Defendant’s vehicle) was that he was traveling approximately ten mph and approximately two car lengths behind Plaintiff when he came to a stop.  Defendant credibly testified that this was a safe speed and distance from the vehicle in front of him and that the accident would not have happened if it had not been for his vehicle sliding in the snowy conditions.  Mr. Tenthoff effectively argued that the photographs depicting very minor damage confirm that this accident was a matter of inches. 

As fate would have it, the City of Philadelphia experienced a snowstorm the morning of closing arguments, enabling the jurors to identify with the Defendant on the accident date.  While Jeff also argued that Plaintiff failed to breach the limited tort threshold, the jury returned a defense verdict as to liability after less than 30 minutes of deliberation.