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Speed Defeats Right of Way March 24, 2009

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in Drunk Driving, FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law, Wisconsin Auto Accidents.
Tags: , , , ,

A Marinette, Wisconsin man was driving on U.S. 41 when a car pulled onto the highway.  The Marinette man struck this vehicle.  The Marinette man survived.  Everyone in the other vehicle died.

If this is all you heard you may say that the other vehicle was at fault.  Why didn’t they see the Marinette man’s vehicle?  They should have yielded the right of way to the vehicle on U.S. 41.

In Wisconsin “speed defeats right of way.”  So, if you are speeding on the road and another car pulls out in front of you, guess what?  You, the speeder, are at fault.

That is what happened in this case.  Plus, I should mention that the Marinette man was intoxicated.  An accident reconstruction specialist estimated the Marinette, Wisconsinite was driving between 77 and 81 in a 45 mph zone.

The Marinette man killed the driver of the car, his three daughters (two were pregnant so two kids were killed) and his son.

The Marinette man was allegedly at a bar where his wife worked for 9 hours prior to the crash.  He told the police that he was distracted when the collision occurred.  He was changing the radio station in his car.

Read the AP’s full story at jsonline.com.

If you have questions about an accident involving a drunk driver or whether someone is “at fault” in Wisconsin feel free to contact me at 800-950-9882.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation.


Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Wausaukee, Kenosha, Janesville and Wauwatosa.


1. Matt Muelver - March 26, 2009

Does this apply the same across the board? For example, if a stone-sober driver was going, say, 48 MPH in a 45 MPH zone and a drunk driver pulled onto the highway right in front of them causing an unavoidable crash would it be the person who was speeding who would be found at fault because of their speed at the time of the crash?

Doesn’t Doyle’s proposal regarding liability make this a moot point anyway? If you’re 1% “at fault” and have a better insurance policy than the person(s) who bear the other 99% wouldn’t it still be you who has to pay?

2. Part Two: Speed Defeats Right of Way « Jon Groth’s Wisconsin Personal Injury Weblog - April 2, 2009

[…] Law, right of way, Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney trackback Matt made a great comment about my earlier post.   I found a jury instruction (Wis JI-Civil 1157 Right of Way: At intersection of Highways; […]

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