The Law and You: Inevitable Accidents
We sometimes hear that a car accident was “inevitable” or “unavoidable,” but what does that really mean?
An inevitable accident is one that was not intended and which, under all the circumstances, could not have been foreseen or prevented by the exercise of reasonable precautions. It is typically used as a defence to a claim of negligence. For example, is an accident “inevitable” where a driver loses control and crosses the centre line due to ice or snow on the roadway or in a heavy patch of fog? The answer will most likely be no and the driver will be found at fault for driving without due care and attention to the road and weather conditions. A reasonable driver is always expected to take poor weather, road, and driving conditions into account when operating a vehicle.
What happens if someone has a heart attack or loses consciousness while driving and causes an accident? Could they be found at fault? The answer is yes. A motorist has a duty to make sure that he or she is in a proper state of health to operate a vehicle and must not expose others to the risk that something will happen which would impair his or her ability to keep their vehicle under control. For example, if a person who suffered a heart attack while driving had symptoms beforehand that would cause a reasonable person concern over their ability to continue to operate a vehicle, they could be found at fault for not pulling over or stopping and seeking medical attention.
Driving is a privilege, not a right. It is a huge responsibility. As such, the defence of inevitable accident is rarely successful. There is a high obligation placed on drivers to ensure they adjust their driving when necessary and ensure they are fit to drive when they get behind the wheel.
Oatley Vigmond is Ontario’s Personal Injury Law Firm. If you or someone you know requires assistance with a car accident or other personal injury claim, we may be able to help.
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