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Legal Advice Needed (i wanna sue someone ;) )
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Legal Advice Needed (i wanna sue someone ;) ) - April 17, 2007, 12:42 PM

Sorry for the long post, but I'll try and make it as short as I can. All questions are welcome.

Back in Dec of '03, the wife was in an accident in front of the new Target at the corner of 50 and 28. As anyone local knows, that is the most poorly designed shopping center parking lot EVER. Back in 03, it was brand new and even worse.

So, details are such: She was leaving Target (on her right) right in front of the building headed toward what is now the Costco area. She came to a complete stop and noticed no traffic in any direction except for the Cherokee approaching the 4-way intersection directly in front of her. She proceeded and made it to the middle of the intersection when she realized the Jeep wasn't slowing down. She slammed her brakes and the horn at the same time but the Jeep driver was in a heated argumet (she watched them arguing as they came into the intersection) and did not slow down. Jeep slams into the passenger side bumper and rolled onto the hood (she was in mid left turn, so it wasn't head on).

Anyway, the problem was that the 4th stop sign (the Jeep's) wasn't installed for whatever reason. It was installed like 3 days later (i have before and after pics). She was charged with running a stop sign and thus ensued a 3 year battle with the passenger of the Jeep trying to get as much money out of our insurance as possible. 90% of his claims were laughed out of court and they finally setteled for a LOT less than he tried to get (at one point he was looking for like $250k).

I had tried to convince my wife that we need to go after the owner of the lot for negligence. She wanted nothing to do with it because her insurance company lawyer told her she didn't have a case. I told her he was retarded but she just wanted to wash her hands of it.

The reason it is coming up now is because I am looking into selling the car privately. I did a CARFAX, and on the report it is showing frame damage. We were never told of any frame damage, it was purely cosmetic (hood, fender, and bumper replaced). Unless I get some sort of certification that the frame is indeed NOT damaged, I am severely limited with how much I will be able to get for the car. Thus, my desire (again) to get money out of whom ever is in charge of the safety in that "private" lot.

Again, sorry if it was long.
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April 17, 2007, 01:06 PM

16 views so far and no one has any comments? usually there's at least 1 person bashing me by now...... you out there Alex?
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April 17, 2007, 01:10 PM

haha.. dude, your concern is legit. i honestly have no idea what to do for ya. Statue of limitations may be against you. sorry bro.


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April 17, 2007, 01:17 PM

Statute of limitations is 2 years I believe. Moreover, the fact that there WAS no sign installed in the area gave the gentleman the right of way on the road, argument, intention of the intersection architecture, poor construction concept, or whatever.

Your case is based on "how things should have been" instead of how they were. If your wife had a stopsign and the other driver didn't then simply your wife was in the wrong. He approached the intersection in a manner congruent with any postings, where your wife assumed something about the intersection that was not true... putting her in the wrong.

I know it's shitty, and I know there are a million reasons why the other driver should have stopped or been directed to stop, but none of them are legally based...

My advice from a measly 3 years of on and off law at Mason... you don't have a case, and you'll spend more money proving that.


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April 17, 2007, 01:18 PM

Ok I think you are screwed. Its private property so I don't believe VDOT rules apply. You can try and maybe they will just pay you off just to save them money. If the signs said 4way stop then maybe you have something but is not then she ,the jeep ,does not have to stop. I had to be a witness to something like this were a stop sign was run over and then later in the week someone went thru the intersection without stopping and there was a bad wreck. The vehicle were the sign was missing was not charged.


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April 17, 2007, 01:25 PM

since it was 3+ years ago the time to file might have come and passed...

also, since she did not yield for right of way, i don't see how it is anyone else's fault but your wife. If the sign said that it was a 4-way specifically then you might have a case, but I doubt it. it is probably written somewhere that a "4-way" plaque under a stop sign in no way guarantees an actual 4-way stop. nonetheless if there was no stop sign for the other driver, why should they have stopped anyway?
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April 17, 2007, 01:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spud
haha.. dude, your concern is legit. i honestly have no idea what to do for ya. Statue of limitations may be against you. sorry bro.
Yeah, i forgot to mention that I had a feeling the Statute of Limitations might be a factor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gixrben
Statute of limitations is 2 years I believe. Moreover, the fact that there WAS no sign installed in the area gave the gentleman the right of way on the road, argument, intention of the intersection architecture, poor construction concept, or whatever.

Your case is based on "how things should have been" instead of how they were. If your wife had a stopsign and the other driver didn't then simply your wife was in the wrong. He approached the intersection in a manner congruent with any postings, where your wife assumed something about the intersection that was not true... putting her in the wrong.

I know it's shitty, and I know there are a million reasons why the other driver should have stopped or been directed to stop, but none of them are legally based...

My advice from a measly 3 years of on and off law at Mason... you don't have a case, and you'll spend more money proving that.
My angle would be along the same lines of why i can sue you for not cleaning the ice off the sidewalk in front of your house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge131
Ok I think you are screwed. Its private property so I don't believe VDOT rules apply. You can try and maybe they will just pay you off just to save them money. If the signs said 4way stop then maybe you have something but is not then she ,the jeep ,does not have to stop. I had to be a witness to something like this were a stop sign was run over and then later in the week someone went thru the intersection without stopping and there was a bad wreck. The vehicle were the sign was missing was not charged.
I would hope the threat of legal action would be enough to warrant a decent offer out of court. All i really would care about is a couple grand to offset the negative marks in selling the car.
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April 17, 2007, 01:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by becman
since it was 3+ years ago the time to file might have come and passed...

also, since she did not yield for right of way, i don't see how it is anyone else's fault but your wife. If the sign said that it was a 4-way specifically then you might have a case, but I doubt it. it is probably written somewhere that a "4-way" plaque under a stop sign in no way guarantees an actual 4-way stop. nonetheless if there was no stop sign for the other driver, why should they have stopped anyway?
The legal ramifications of "4-way" postings aside, remember that I am not saying legally it wasn't her fault. Any good lawyer can argue sucessfully that fault does not constitute guilt (reasonable expectations, etc) I'm talking about a case that the owner of the lot was negligent which led to an accident on his property.
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April 17, 2007, 01:32 PM

You can't sue me for ice on the sidewalk, that's public domain. People have tried with little or no success and won because of gross negligence by the home owner, not on the described merits alone. (ei - leaving the hose on and creating an ice slick)

Nor could you sue me for slipping while walking up my driveway to sell me a subscription as you entered the property on you own volition. which would be more a situation akin to yours.

You don't have much of a case because right of way was marked and, through an assumption your wife made, was violated. The fault isn't the drivers, and not really the owners because right of way WAS marked... it was your wifes fault dude. That may be difficult to accept but it's true.

Now if your wife did not have a sign, THEN it would be a case of negligence by the lot owner.


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Last edited by B; April 17, 2007 at 01:34 PM..
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April 17, 2007, 01:41 PM

I'm not trying to argue with anyone, so please don't take my retorts as snide. I appreciate all responses.

What I meant was that it could be argued that when a driver approaches a 4-way itersection that clearly displays 3 signs, it is a reasonable assumption that there is a 4th sign. Especially since the 4th sign was put back up 3 days later.
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April 17, 2007, 01:41 PM

I know nothing of the legalities of the STOP sign situation...
as far as the frame damaged car... that unfortunately doesn't sound nuts.
If it was the hood, fender, and bumper... it probably tweaked the radiator
support... which on newer unibody cars is considered part of the frame.
The insurance adjuster probably noted it in a report, but it didn't need new
radiator or support so it got over looked and was just tweaked back at the body shop.
I'm not sure if this makes you feel any better... it probably doesn't, but thats
just an explaination of why that happened.
Sorry


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April 17, 2007, 01:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildjester
I know nothing of the legalities of the STOP sign situation...
as far as the frame damaged car... that unfortunately doesn't sound nuts.
If it was the hood, fender, and bumper... it probably tweaked the radiator
support... which on newer unibody cars is considered part of the frame.
The insurance adjuster probably noted it in a report, but it didn't need new
radiator or support so it got over looked and was just tweaked back at the body shop.
I'm not sure if this makes you feel any better... it probably doesn't, but thats
just an explaination of why that happened.
Sorry
That's exactly what happened. I used to work in auto-body, so I knew that part of it. The problem is that it is now permanently attached to the CARFAX. Bastards.....
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April 17, 2007, 01:47 PM

Pardon my bluntness, but if you worked at a body shop and new the radiator support was fucked... why the fuck are you surprised about the carfax?

Quote:
Originally Posted by draven
That's exactly what happened. I used to work in auto-body, so I knew that part of it. The problem is that it is now permanently attached to the CARFAX. Bastards.....


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April 17, 2007, 01:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by draven
I'm not trying to argue with anyone, so please don't take my retorts as snide. I appreciate all responses.

What I meant was that it could be argued that when a driver approaches a 4-way itersection that clearly displays 3 signs, it is a reasonable assumption that there is a 4th sign. Especially since the 4th sign was put back up 3 days later.
ok are you saying that the sign was there but at one point it was knocked down and then later put back up? Under the stop sign it would then say 4-way. You might have a case. But at the time the officer should have noted that.


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April 17, 2007, 01:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by draven
What I meant was that it could be argued that when a driver approaches a 4-way itersection that clearly displays 3 signs, it is a reasonable assumption that there is a 4th sign. Especially since the 4th sign was put back up 3 days later.
Not really true, since I been through 4-way intersections where only 3 stop; usually these are marked with reminders that it is NOT a 4-way stop but the responsibility is still the driver's. Unless her sign specifically indicated that it was an All Way / 4 Way stop, then she really has no case at all.

That's a huge bummer that things turned out the way they did and now you're having to pay for your wife's mistake twice, but I would really just let it go and move on.

And btw, I hope you reminded your wife that
Quote:
when she realized the Jeep wasn't slowing down. She slammed her brakes and the horn at the same time
was a TERRIBLE response to the situation... if someone is about to broadside you (whether you think you have the right away or not), you don't stop in their path! HIT THE GAS!


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