A can of paint that at face value only cost under $20 ended up costing one driver and a mechanic a total of $1.8 million in a recent settlement following a devastating motorcycle accident. These individuals were assigned liability in the accident that resulted in a young motorcycle rider from outside the state of Pennsylvania losing the use of his legs when he paralyzed from the waist down in a devastating motor vehicle accident.
Reportedly, it has become a popular habit of some drivers looking to make their car look cooler to obscure their taillights with the inexpensive application of a paint. This is obviously dangerous because taillights are critical to warning other drivers when a motorist is slowing down or stopped. Without adequate taillights, a driver is leaving themselves vulnerable to being rear-ended and another driver vulnerable to a preventable impact.
That is what happened in the recent settlement, the motorcyclist impacted with the back of the negligent driver because the motorcyclist was unable to discern that the driver was reducing his speed. It is foolish that one young man can no longer walk because another wanted to look cool. The expensive settlement that the offending driver has agreed to probably does not feel very cool either.
The mechanic was also assigned liability in this accident because he was responsible for inspecting the vehicle and did not say that it was unfit or unsafe to drive after the application of the taillight-obscuring paint. In Pennsylvania, if a driver chooses to engage in similarly negligent car modifications that compromise the safety of both themselves and innocent individuals, they could find that they are held financially liable.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “St. Louis County lawsuit is ‘cautionary tale’ on obscuring taillights,” Jennifer Mann, Feb. 1, 2013