07 Feb Engagement, Wave Through, Superbowl
Welcome to the Newsletter
Rana Law Group Newsletter
In this issue:
- Who Gets the Engagement Ring if an Engagement is Called Off?
- Should I Wave Someone Through When I Am Stopped in Traffic?
- Superbowl Sunday
Who Gets the Engagement Ring if an Engagement is Called Off?
While I no longer handle family law, I thought it would be fun to answer this question before Valentine’s Day. Couples usually do not contemplate this question since they are usually madly in love when either party pops the question. Unfortunately, they could be one of the many couples that get into an argument over family, flowers or money along the way and call off the engagement. Is the bride-to-be required to return the engagement ring her suitor purchased? Under the law, yes. An engagement ring is treated as a conditional gift. On condition of getting married, the bride gets to keep the ring. If the wedding does not take place, then the former bride-to-be is not entitled to keep the ring (with exceptions for family rings or if the bride-to-be purchased the ring).
What if the bride-to-be is jilted at the alter or her suitor runs off with a bridesmaid – is the bride still required to return the ring? In this situation, she might have an argument for what the law calls “equitable estoppel”. Essentially, if she spent money on the wedding, it is not fair for her suitor to get the engagement ring back if he did not cover all the wedding expenses. Here, a court would probably figure out how much each person spent to determine if there should be an offset.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Should I Wave Someone Through When I Am Stopped in Traffic?
I receive many calls where someone is involved in a car crash after a ‘wave through’. Let’s use the photo below as our example. Imagine a driver wants to turn left out of this driveway onto a busy street, however, there is stopped traffic in the lane traveling left to right (closest to the drive). A nice person stops and waves through the driver attempting to turn left. Two common problems that arise are: (1) either the second lane traveling left to right is not clear (in other words, just because the first lane is clear and the “nice” person waved the driver through does not mean the driver turning left should assume the second lane is clear), or (2) the middle turning lane is not clear because a driver who wants to turn left at the upcoming intersection may get around all the traffic by going into the middle lane and flying by everyone. The original driver who wanted to turn left out of the drive could be hit by someone traveling in the second through lane or the middle lane.
In terms of liability, the original driver who was coming out of the drive making a left is going to be assigned most of the fault because they have a duty to yield to traffic which has a superior right to all the potential lanes this driver could go into. Moreover, there would actually be fault on the “nice” driver who waved through the driver turning left. Practically, most drivers who “wave through” proceed onwards if there is a car crash thinking they were not involved, but legally, they may have fault. If they stick around, there could be some small amount of fault placed on them. If they drive off, there could be a potential uninsured motorist claim for a “phantom motorist” (one whose identity we do not know).
Unfortunately, this situation happens frequently. It is safest to only turn left when certain all lanes are reasonably clear and to be “mean” and not wave anyone through into potential oncoming traffic.
I hope you all had a wonderful time on Sunday. While I neglected to get a photo of me gluttonously eating all the wonderful party foods, it is safe to say I did not go hungry. The game itself was really boring and, since the Chiefs didn’t make it, no one was really invested in the outcome. Ultimately, as terrible as this sounds, we ended up rooting for the Patriots because the sting of the Rams leaving town still has not gone away.
At least it is almost baseball season. Pitchers and catchers report in one week for spring training!
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