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"Flahn v. Pennsylvania Financial Responsibility Assigned Claims Plans."

Practice Area: Car accident

Outcome: The jury awarded the plaintiff $31,500 in damages.

Description: Plaintiff was a passenger in an uninsured vehicle operated by the uninsured defendant driver and owned by uninsured defendant owner. The host vehicle collided with a vehicle owned and operated by non-host defendant. It was argued by defendant, The Pennsylvania Responsibility Assigned Claims Plan, that the non-host defendant contributed to the collision by negligently activating his right turn signal and then proceeding straight through a “T-Intersection” at Eastwick Avenue and 62nd Street in Philadelphia County. Non-host defendant maintained that the collision resulted from the uninsured host driver defendant’s failure to stop at the stop sign at the intersection. The uninsured host vehicle owner defendant maintained that he did not give his permission for the host driver defendant to use the vehicle. Evidence showed that the uninsured host vehicle had a stop sign on 62nd Street. The plaintiff testified that the host driver stopped at the stop sign and observed that the non-host defendant was approaching 62nd Street on Eastwick Avenue with a right turn signal activated. Accordingly, defendant, The Pennsylvania Responsibility Assigned Claims Plan, contended that uninsured host driver defendant reasonably believed it was safe to make a left turn onto Eastwick Avenue. However, the plaintiff testified that the non-host vehicle proceeded straight through the intersection instead of making a right turn. The plaintiff, who was 25 at the time, claimed cervical and lumbar sprain and strain with cervical radiculopathy as a result of the accident. A full-tort insurance threshold applied. The non-host driver defendant argued that he was proceeding with the right-of-way on Eastwick Avenue, when the host driver defendant negligently drove through the stop sign on 62nd Street and struck his vehicle. Non-host defendant denied activating his right turn signal prior to approaching 62nd Street on Eastwick Avenue. The defense also argued that the plaintiff’s neck and back complaints were unrelated to the accident and that she had received excessive medical treatment. The jury found the uninsured host-driver defendant 100% negligent. The jury also found that the uninsured defendant owner was not negligent. The jury awarded the plaintiff $31,500 in damages, which was molded to the Assigned Claims Plan statutory cap of $15,000. A finding of 1% negligence of more against the insured driver would have made him responsible for the entire verdict under Pennsylvania Law.

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