25 May Virginia: Car Accident – a Lawyer’s Reversal
In Rascher v. Friend, 279 Va. 370, 373 (2010), the Virginia Supreme Court reversed the trial judge striking the evidence of a bicyclist in Prince William County, Virginia, who suffered personal injury in a car accident. It held that the jury could have found Plaintiff not negligent or, alternatively, that any negligence of his was not a proximate cause of the collision.
After delineating contributory negligence, proximate causation and proof burdens, the Virginia Supreme Court in the Rascher car accident appeal took “opportunity to again stress the principle of tort litigation that issues of negligence and proximate cause ordinarily are questions of fact for the jury to determine, rather than questions to be determined by the trial court as a matter of law. The trial court should overrule a motion to strike the evidence in every case in which there is any doubt that the party with the burden to do so has failed to prove negligence, contributory negligence, and proximate cause, as the case may be.”