According to police, the car rolled an unknown number of times and both passengers, a 29-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman, were ejected. The young man, known to have been a Millcreek Township resident, was killed in the Erie County rollover accident. The young woman was taken to UPMC-Hamot by ambulance and early reports indicate she suffered a severe head injury.*
Authorities have reported that they are still attempting to determine which of the two people was the driver at the time of the accident. They are also attempting to discovery how and why the accident occurred.
The Erie injury lawyers and staff at the law firm of Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. offer their sincerest condolences to the family of the young man killed in this tragic accident and our hopes for a full and rapid recovery to the young woman who is struggling with her injuries at UPMC-Hamot.
Cases Involving Driver Identification Require Special Investigation
For the families involved in this Erie auto accident, the question of who was driving necessarily will be secondary to grieving for their losses and caring for their injured. But for the Pennsylvania insurance companies involved in the matter, gathering the evidence to determine who was driving (or to cloud the issue) will be at the forefront of their investigation. The answer to that question will determine many things, including who is entitled to recover; which insurance companies are responsible to pay; and what coverages are implicated.
Unfortunately, in accidents like this one, it can be a challenge to prove who the driver was and often the evidence fails to point clearly to one party. Such ambiguity in the evidence allows insurance companies to point in whichever direction is most in their interest, i.e., whichever direction requires them to pay the least. Often, different insurance companies will reach directly contrary conclusions.
For example, Eric Purchase was a lawyer for a party involved in a case in which five young people were ejected from a vehicle in a high speed collision. All were killed and each of the insurance companies involved took directly contrary and inconsistent positions to one another. It took a capable forensic examiner with specialized biomechanical knowledge to finally marshall the evidence together in such a way as to make a case compelling enough to persuade the car insurance companies to settle the case.
Early and capable investigation by appropriate experts is critical to successfully resolving the issues presented in a case where driver identity is an issue.
* Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., P.C. are Pennsylvania injury lawyers headquartered in Erie who are committed to educating the public about accidents and injuries in Erie County, Crawford County, Warren County and Venango County. Beginning August 1, 2011, Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., P.C. has determined that names of car accident victims will not be published out of respect for the victim and their family. Accident victim names may be published here in those circumstances where the victim is a public figure or the victim’s identity is important for reasons of story or message.