When Tom Brady’s car and Ludgero Rodrigues’ minivan crashed in Back Bay, Boston, yesterday, what most people wanted to know first is whether the New England Patriots’ star quarterback was injured. The answer was no, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. The outlook for the season was still good.
Next, we all wanted to know what happened and who was at fault. Rodriguez ran a red light, we were told, and crashed into Brady. Well, maybe. According to the Boston Police report, Rodrigues says the light was green when he went into the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Gloucester Street, and Brady ran into him. The physical evidence shows clearly that Brady’s front end rammed the middle of the passenger side of the van. Brady says the light was green for him as he entered the intersection. A 74 year old woman who was walking her dogs says that as she was in the ambulance with Brady, he asked her if the minivan ran the red light, and she assured him it had. She reported that the walk light came on for her to cross Commonwealth Avenue just before the minivan came past. The police wrote Rodrigues a ticket for running the red light based on her evidence. Plus, the minivan’s driver was a 21 year old with a poor driving record, though later we found out that the bad record had been exaggerated.
As an afterthought, seemingly, we heard reports that the minivan driver’s 49 year old father, Rogerio Rodrigues, was in the back of the van and had to be cut out with the “jaws of life” and taken to the hospital. It turns out he has severe injuries — a broken back — and has undergone several operations with more to come. Local trial lawyers speculated on how much Tom Brady could collect from his insurance if Brady later found out he was injured. Nobody seems to be concerned about Rugerio Rodrigues’ rights.
A passenger in a crash can sue either or both of the drivers. It is rare that the passenger has any degree of contributory fault. Rather, it is almost always one or both of the drivers whose negligence caused the crash. So to Rogerio Rodrigues, the red light controversy would seem to be unimportant. But the question is, how much insurance does the minivan carry? If Brady was not at fault, Rogerio would have to rely on the minivan’s insurance to pay his entire claim. But if Brady was even 1% at fault, even if Ludgero was 99% at fault, Rogerio could collect the entire judgment against Brady. And that could be a sizeable amount.
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