Bear causes rear-end collision and one death

When a motor vehicle collides with a wild animal, the results can be tragic, not only for the animal but also for the occupant of the vehicle. A recent fatal accident in Plymouth Township in Luzerne County shows the wisdom of the advice never to stop or slow down for an animal that is attempting to cross a highway.

The accident

A 58-year-old man from Exeter was driving north on Route 11 when he spotted a bear on the highway. The man slowed suddenly to avoid hitting the bear and then another vehicle rear-ended him. The man was taken to a nearby hospital, where died from his injuries. According to witnesses, two passengers in the car were thrown from the vehicle. Local media had no information on the severity of their injuries.

The driver of the car who hit the car that had slowed for the bear, a 21-year-old man, and his passenger, a 19-year-old woman, were both injured and were taken to a nearby trauma center. Again, media did not have any information on their injuries or physical condition.

Potential liability

The fact that a wild animal was the apparent cause of this accident may foreclose any inquiry into potential liability for the death and injuries that resulted from this crash. However, several questions need answers before abandoning any claims for legal liability.

A critical question is the speed of each vehicle. If the vehicle that initiated the rear-end collision was speeding, the driver of that vehicle may well have been negligent. If the car that slowed for the bear did so too quickly, that driver may also share some of the fault for the accident. Who is to blame can be sorted out in a courtroom according to Pennsylvania’s comparative fault statute.

Solid legal advice

If you have lost a loved one or been seriously injured under similar circumstances, you may wish to consult an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney who can evaluate the evidence, advise you on potential litigation strategies and offer you an opinion on whether you will be able to recover damages for lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering.