Think Before You Wave Another Driver Into Traffic

Think Before You Wave Another Driver Into Traffic

We’ve all been in this situation…

You’re stopped in traffic and another driver – either in the median break to your left or exiting a parking lot, driveway or street to your right – looks at you and indicates they want to cross in front of you to the opposite side of the road.

Personally, I have allowed many people to cross in front of me in situations like this.

However, as a motor vehicle accident attorney in Trinity, Florida, when examining cases in which our clients are injured in this type of situation, we have to consider whether the Good Samaritan driver who signaled the driver into the traffic has some responsibility in causing the accident and the injures that result from the accident.

In 1987, the Florida Supreme Court addressed this issue in the case of Kerfoot v. Waychoff. The court stated:

“an action undertaken for the benefit of another, even gratuitously, must be performed in accordance with an obligation to exercise reasonable care.”

The court further explained that if the Good Samaritan driver does not have a clear view of the situation then they will not be held liable. However, if the driver has the ability to observe the situation clearly then they are held to a reasonable standard of care to the driver they have signaled into the roadway.

In the Kerfoot v. Waychoff case, the court found in favor of the Good Samaritan driver because it was determined that he did not have a clear view of the area behind him.

Since that case though, the courts have ruled against the Good Samaritan driver in cases in which the person signaling had a clear view of the situation and failed to exercise reasonable care to the signaled driver. The court stated that the issue of fault on the part of the Good Samaritan driver should be allowed to go to the jury for a decision in a scenario like this.

Therefore, as much as you might like to help a fellow driver (or avoid an angry stare or gesture) by waiving someone into or across traffic, it probably isn’t worth the potential risk of being found partially liable for a motor vehicle accident that could occur to the driver that you signal into the traffic.

If you have more questions about Good Samaritan issues or any other legal questions, contact the Law Office of Charles S. Philips, personal injury lawyer in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Inverness and Brooksville, Florida. We would be happy to answer your questions. If you need legal representation, we’ll make sure you get the compensation you deserve, so you can get the medical care you need.

-Chuck Philips