Virginia: Car Accidents – a Lawyer’s Motorcycle

Virginia: Car Accidents – a Lawyer’s Motorcycle

On April 4, 2014, the Virginia Supreme Court handed down its unpublished order in Turner v. Perryman, No. CL12667 in Circuit Court of Hanover County, Virginia, involving a truck-motorcycle crash. A 5-2 majority concluded “the circuit court erred by instructing the jury on contributory negligence,” so reversed and remanded for retrial, id. at 4, with Justices McClanahan and Powell dissenting. Id. at 4-8.

To establish a prima facie case of contributory negligence for an instruction to the jury, the proponent must demonstrate “there is more than a scintilla of evidence produced on each of the elements of contributory negligence,” including “that such negligence was a proximate cause of the accident”. Id. at 2. The Turner vehicle accident appeal however, there was “no evidence from which the jury could have reasonably concluded that had [Plaintiff attempted different evasive action] the collision would have been avoided.” Id. at 4.