Lawsuit Against Owner of a Car That Slid Down Driveway and Damage Another Vehicle

In Paluske v. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, 875 A.2d 1214 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005), Paluske's unoccupied car slid down his driveway during a rainstorm and struck and damaged another vehicle parked in front of his house. The owner of this other vehicle subsequently obtained a judgment against Paluske. Department of Transportation (DOT) notified Paluske of a suspension of his operating privileges under Section 1772(a). Paluske appealed and a lower court reversed the suspension, concluding that the underlying judgment did not result from a motor vehicle accident as intended by Section 1771(a). DOT appealed to this Court and the Court reversed the decision of the lower court. In rendering our decision, we noted that the term "motor vehicle" certainly would include a car. In addition, based on Paluske's own testimony that his car struck and damaged another car, we concluded that "it was both an error of law and a manifest abuse of discretion for the trial court to find that DOT failed to establish that the judgment resulted from a 'motor vehicle accident' under section 1771 of the MVFRL." Paluske, 875 A.2d at 1217. Later, the Court reiterated that "the damage which resulted in the judgment against Paluske was caused by the collision of Paluske's car with another car." Id. Hence, the conclusions in Paluske actually support the use of a broader definition of the term "accident."