Court decides woman's injury case; holds that negligent driver who caused prior accident cannot be at fault in causing hers
Sue Walcott sued for personal injuries after she rear-ended another vehicle on east-bound M-6. The vehicle she struck had been forced to stop, on short notice, after two west-bound vehicles collided and crossed the median into the east-bound lane. Walcott alleged that the negligence of the west-bound drivers was the cause of her collision, but the trial court granted them summary disposition. The Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that "prior negligent acts...leading to the first accident...are not a substantial factor in causing a second collision." It held that because the second collision was not a "continuation" of the first accident, the negligent driver in the first collision was not a cause of Walcott's injuries. The judges ruled that since the driver in front of Walcott was able to stop without hitting the cars involved in the first collision, reasonable jurors could not conclude, as a matter of law, that the west-bound drivers were a cause of Walcott's injuries.