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No evidence car crash caused by other driver, 7th Circuit rules

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The estate of a northern Indiana man who died in an auto accident was unable to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals his death was caused by the negligence of the other driver.

Edmund Carman was killed when his Kia Spectra rear ended a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Daniel Tinkes. Carman, driving “quickly” on U.S. 20 in the early morning without his headlights on, struck the right rear corner of the truck which tore off the driver’s side of the car.

The estate claims Tinkes was violating traffic laws as he entered the left turn lane, which caused the accident. Pointing to Indiana Code 9-21-8-6 and 9-21-8-24, the estate argued Tinkes illegally passed on the right another truck which was further back in the turn lane and he made an unsafe lane change when he entered the turn lane.

However, the 7th Circuit found there was no evidence that Tinkes violated either traffic law. In Estate of Edmund M. Carman, deceased, v. Daniel B. Tinkes, et al., 13-3846, the Circuit Court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

“The fact that Carman was in the left lane some distance behind him, speeding toward the red light with no indication he was slowing down or about to stop, does not make Tinkes’s move from that lane a traffic violation,” Judge David Hamilton wrote. “Even if Tinkes had seen Carman coming from behind (which would have been a feat considering Carman’s lack of headlights), he could not be faulted for failing to execute the maneuver quickly enough to avoid being hit from behind.”
 

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