The sudden emergency doctrine recognizes that a person confronted with sudden or unexpected circumstances calling for immediate action is not expected to exercise the judgment of one acting under normal conditions.
Defendant was attempting to change lanes on the highway, and a car in the lane ahead of the defendant stopped short, causing the defendant to collide with the back corner of plaintiff's car. Plaintiff sustained injuries, and sued defendant for the injuries sustained. At trial, the trial court instructed the jury on the sudden emergency doctrine, and the jury found for the defendant. Plaintiff appeals, and claims that the lower court erred in instructing the jury about the sudden emergency doctrine.
Whether the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the sudden emergency doctrine.
No, the trial court did not err in instructing the jury on the sudden emergency doctrine.
In affirming the lower courts' rulings, the Court found that there was no evidence was presented to show that defendant was following too closely to the injured party's car or that she was driving too fast. Further, the Court found that the unexpected reentry of the unidentified vehicle into the flow of traffic provided sufficient evidence to support giving the sudden emergency instruction.