January 29, 2022

Skinner v. Poston: Understanding Vehicle Accident Cases

In Skinner v. Poston, 71 So. 2d 702 (1954), the Court of Appeal decided on March 24, 1954 that the plaintiff was at fault by driving in an unsafe speed when he got into a truck accident with the defendant.

This case illustrated the facts a court reviewed in resolving vehicle accident cases. Vehicle accident cases are actions in negligence, requiring a showing that a defendant owed a plaintiff a legal duty, that the defendant breached the duty, and that the breach was a proximate or legal cause of the injuries plaintiff suffered. The disposition of vehicle accident cases are usually based on the facts surrounding the location of vehicles, the speed of drivers, and the witness’ credibility.

Skinner may be persuasive precedent for a personal injury case in Chicago. In Skinner, the plaintiff was driving a gasoline delivery truck. The defendant engaged a surveyor who prepared an exhibit for trial on the highway where the accident occurred. What was special about the survey was that the surveyor completed it when the gasoline delivery truck tire imprints were still visible. The physical facts also showed the plaintiff did not use his brakes at the time of the accident because there were no skid marks. Without skid marks, the speed of the gasoline delivery truck could not be determined, but the trial court found the speed for the road conditions, was not safe.

When reconstructing an accident in Chicago, the fresher the testimony or evidence gathered to the time of the incident, the more believable the evidence. At trial, in Skinner, the exhibit the surveyor prepared showed accurately where the truck tires were, road elevation, and highway curve. The exhibit spoke for itself, bringing the highway to life. The defendant no doubt knew the psychology of visuals. Effective visuals address responsibility, blame, and victimization. For instance, for personal responsibility, which means not blaming others for life’s challenges, visuals break down each separate, negligent act to show the plaintiff made choices.

In an accident, getting an independent witness to testify may tilt the weight of evidence to one side. In Skinner, the witnesses testified on the weather, road surface, and speed. The defendant had a helper and other witnesses who corroborated the defendant’s story, but the court found the witnesses’ testimonies to be cumulative to the physical facts from the exhibit.

Injured In A Chicago Car Accident?

In March 2011, the Chicago Tribune reported in “Man drives wrong way on road, and more” that a 24-year-old man, of George Avenue, was charged with driving under the influence, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, improper turn signal and operating an uninsured motor vehicle on March 6, 2011.

A 45-year-old man, of Banford Circle, Lake in the Hills, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content level of more than .08 percent, resisting a peace officer and improper lane usage on March 12, 2011.

A 33-year-old man, of Northlane, Cary, was arrested March 12, 2011 for an outstanding warrant out of McHenry County for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving on a revoked license.

A 24-year-old man, of Shore Drive, McHenry, was arrested March 10, 2011 for an outstanding warrant out of McHenry County for driving while license revoked. A 26-year-old man, of W. Woodstock Street, was arrested March 11, 2011 for an outstanding warrant out of Kane County for failure to appear on an aggravated driving under the influence charge. He was also charged with leaving the traffic crash scene, improper lane usage, driving while license revoked and failure to notify the police of a traffic crash.

Sadly, with congested traffic, and people drinking while driving or driving on a revoked license, vehicle accidents are bound to occur. Auto accidents are a category of personal injuries that disrupt the lives of people every day, causing not only physical and emotional damage, but also financial stress from medical expenses and lost earnings. Contact a Chicago accident attorney for when injured in a car accident.

Generally, car accidents occur when a driver departs from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances. The plaintiff proves four elements:

  • defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff;
  • defendant breached its duty;
  • plaintiff was injured;
  • defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury

Whether there is a duty to a plaintiff may come from traffic laws. Police reports sometimes cite violations of vehicle codes, evidencing a duty breach. When involved in an accident, write down the details of the accident to remember the incident accurately. These notes are invaluable when a Chicago injury lawyer assists a client in putting together a compensation demand.

In a car accident, types of damages the injured person may recover include:

  • medical care for brain injury or spinal cord injury;
  • loss of earnings;
  • pain and suffering from chronic back and neck pain;
  • emotional distress;
  • psychological counseling

Often the legal aspects of vehicle accidents require urgent action. Contact us today to obtain the maximum monetary compensation for car accident losses.