Negligence isn’t always the most obvious fact. What’s staring you in the face may not be the negligent act.

A toddler-passenger in a car the mother was driving was killed as the car was t-boned by another vehicle. Now before you get upset with the other driver know the driver of the car in which the toddler was a passenger was its 19-year-old mother. This is a two-vehicle crash near Creston, Iowa.  Obviously this is not a happy story, but one with a very sad ending.

It reminded me of a case from a long time ago. Mrs. Mumby was very elderly, drove only to church, the grocery store and daily to the nursing home to see her friends. Her kids didn’t wish she drove but she wanted to remain independent. I met her when she asked that I defend her. She drove through an intersection against the light t-boned another car with four family members. Two children in the rear and the mother front-passenger were all seriously hurt. One child flew out the rear window and was run over in traffic. Strangely enough that child was in a home made infant safety seat.

Mrs. Mumby was a very nice lady. Timid, apologetic, wanting to reach out to the family was the best way I can describe her. She was very short and extremely frail. Just a wonderful lady with a heart of gold; but was this terrible accident her fault?

My investigation, as always required a drive out to the scene and of course reading the local news. And there in the news was the key to this intersection collision. In a letter to the editor a person that lived very close to that intersection asked the question of why the City of Waterloo suddenly sent trucks out to clear the tree branches that had grown in front of the stop sign, after Mrs. Mumby’s accident.

Well of course I immediately phoned the then Plaintiff’s attorney and the case against the city was off and running. It wasn’t really Mrs. Mumby’s fault, oh maybe some it was but clearly the City had fault as well.

And that is what this job is all about. Good lawyering takes investigation, foot work, camera time, talking and interviewing. It takes a good long visit to the accident scene after the client explains what they think occurred.  And that’s because the most obvious fact isn’t always the main cause of an accident. So while I like you read about this grieving mom whose child has died someone needs to analyze the situation at that intersection and ask why she didn’t stop. Are there other reasons that would not be as obvious to her as the answer to the question Mrs. Mumby kept asking herself; why didn’t I stop at that stop sign?

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