No. 28852 -- Darlene Gillingham and Carl Bumgardner v. Albert Stephenson and
Amber Goddard, David Goddard and Carrie Goddard, individually,
and Carrie Goddard, mother, natural guardian and next friend v.
Ronald G. Taylor and Albert Stephenson
McGraw, Chief Justice, dissenting:
This strikes me as a very simple rear-end collision case that probably should
have resulted in a verdict for the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, who managed to stop their truck
safely without injury to themselves or others, had their truck totaled by the defendant, who
was driving his vehicle in such a fashion that he was unable to stop.
One of the most basic concepts instilled in young drivers in drivers' education
classes is that if you rear-end someone, you are almost certainly going to be liable for their
damages. That is why our statutes require a driver to maintain control of his or her vehicle,
in all situations.
As Justice Neely was fond of stating, predictability in the law is essential for
stimulating prompt settlement of meritorious cases: Voluntary settlements (which are in
everyone's interest) are best encouraged by the articulation of clear, concise, bright line
rules. Hayseeds, Inc. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty, 177 W. Va. 323, 352 S.E.2d 73
(1986) (parenthetical in original).