CARELESS DRIVING

“I just came by to thank you for replacing my baseball cap,” you say, as I open the front door.

“You’re welcome,” I reply. “We’re just about ready to leave for the coast.”

At the mention of the word, “coast,” the cats pop up from the front passenger seat of my car and peer out the open window, which is next to the hood of your car, parked in the driveway, next to mine. The cats glare at you, remembering the stern lecture they received for destroying your baseball cap.

“I’ll be going now,” you say, as you walk around the back of your car and carefully open the driver side door from the rear, avoiding the cats. You then close the windows and lock the doors of your car and turn on the ignition and put your car into reverse to back out of my driveway.

Just then, Marlin remembers that she has forgotten her battery operated mouse, and she leaps out of the window and bounds onto the hood of your car and sprints into the open front door of my house. Startled, you jerk the steering wheel slightly and scrape the right rear fender of my car. I am watching the whole thing from my doorstep.

“Did you see that!” you yell. “Your cat caused an accident!”

“Yes, I saw it,” I say, “but you are at fault.”

“Are you crazy?” you exclaim. “How do you figure that?”

“Under the rule of careless driving, which is defined as operating a motor vehicle in a manner that causes or is likely to cause damage to property or injury to person.”

“What about your cat that jumped on the hood of my car?” you ask.

“You could have applied the brakes to avoid a collision,” I say. “Could I see your insurance card, please?” I ask.

As you search in your wallet, you glance at Marlin, who is prancing back to my car with her toy mouse in her mouth, now ready to go to the coast. “I knew that I shouldn’t have come here,” you say.

Allen Drescher has practiced law in Ashland and Southern Oregon since 1973. His practice areas include real estate and business law, estate planning and elder law.

© Allen Drescher