Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
When it comes to personal injury cases, especially car accidents, some defenses are more common than others. Luckily, there are ways to overcome them. Here are some that stand out:
Sudden Medical Emergency
We represented a man who was in an accident. A man failed to stop at a red light and ran the intersection, colliding with our client. The case seems simple: if the defendant ran a red light, he’s at-fault, right? The defendant claimed a sudden medical emergency made him lose consciousness and run the light unknowingly. He also claimed that he didn’t remember the accident taking place.
In order to prove that a sudden and unexpected medical emergency was to blame for his failing to stop at the light, the defendant had to prove that (1) he was stricken by a sudden loss of consciousness, (2) he had no reason to expect this might happen, (3) he was rendered unable to control his vehicle, and (4) if it would not have happened, the collision would not have occurred.
Because the defendant admitted that he did not remember the accident occurring, he cannot prove any of the necessary requirements because it is impossible for him to prove whether he lost consciousness before or after the accident.
Sun in the Eyes
Another one that we see often is the Sun in Eyes defense.
Essentially, the defendant claims that he or she didn’t see the car or pedestrian they collided with because the sun was in their eyes. For some reason, people think that the sun in their eyes is essentially a get out of jail free card. Maybe this has some basis in Ecclesiastes 11:7. But it gets no love under Washington law.
In fact, under Washington law, reduced visibility requires greater vigilance on part of the driver. Conditions causing reduced visibility do not lessen the protection (e.g., given to pedestrians in crosswalks).
Not only does the “sun in the eyes” defense not fly, it’s really a way to show that the at-fault driver should have been even more careful than usual.
It Must Have Been Someone Else
This is a frequent fall-back and takes all sorts of different forms.
My brakes failed.
Something obstructed my view.
The injured person’s airbag didn’t go off.
The medical car the injured person received was inadequate.
The list goes on and on. Fortunately Washington law and good lawyering have helped our clients get past all of these variations of the “it must have been someone else” defense.