Most motor vehicle accidents that involve stop signs usually involve at least one vehicle that failed to obey the warning. A recent fatal accident in Bucks County followed a somewhat different script: the driver of a car that obeyed the stop sign was hit by another vehicle and killed as he drove through the intersection.
A twenty-one year old man from Quakertown was driving east on West Saw Mill Road when he came to a stop sign controlling traffic entering or crossing Old Bethlehem Road. The driver stopped his car and then proceeded to begin crossing Old Bethlehem Road. As he entered the intersection, he was struck by a pickup truck traveling down Old Bethlehem Road. The twenty-one year old driver was pronounced dead at the scene. His 51-year old passenger was taken to a nearby hospital with undisclosed injuries.
After the collision the pickup truck struck a utility pole. According to police, the driver of the pickup was not injured in the collision. No charges were issued against the surviving driver, and police made no mention of potential impairment caused by alcohol or drugs.
The police report appears to indicate that the deceased driver obeyed the law by stopping at the stop sign. None of the accident reports stated whether the pickup truck disobeyed a traffic signal, either a stop sign or traffic light, prior to the collision. The survivors of the 21-year old man may have a strong wrongful death claim against the pickup driver, and the passenger in his car may have a claim for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.
As with many accidents, the bare facts of the collision do not provide concrete answers to issue of fault and liability. Anyone who has lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult an experienced accident attorney for advice on the likelihood of recovering damages.