Get a FREE Case Review
Call Today: (800) 559-5741
Call Today: (800) 559-5741
Available 24 Hours, 7 Days A Week

North Carolina Court Of Appeals Allows Driver To Avoid Liability Through Doctrine Of Sudden Emergency

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently handed down a decision in favor of a truck driver whose tractor trailer ran into a woman, causing her death. The truck driver was driving down the highway when he saw another person driving in his lane the wrong way. To avoid a head-on collision, he jerked on his wheel, hit the brakes, and collided with the deceased’s car instead.

torn tire and doctrine of sudden emergency The driver claimed he was not responsible for damages to the deceased’s estate under the doctrine of sudden emergency. The doctrine of sudden emergency can be used when a person is confronted with an emergency situation that causes an injury to another as a result of his or her actions during the emergency. If the person’s actions are what a “reasonable person” would do in the same situation, then they are not liable for the injuries of the other party. The Court in Marshall v. Williams, 153 N.C. App. 128, 131, 574 S.E.2d 1, 3 (2002) summarized the doctrine of emergency as one that “creates a less stringent standard of care for one who, through no fault of his own, is suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with imminent danger to himself or others.”

The lower court found that the truck driver owed no duty of care to the now-deceased driver as he was trying to avoid a head-on collision. The representative of the deceased’s estate disagreed and appealed. The representative argued that while the doctrine of sudden emergency applied, there were other actions the truck driver could have taken to avoid the collision. The representative took the position that the truck driver could have veered right instead of left and braked sooner. The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling, determining that while that may be true, the doctrine of sudden emergency exists to preclude that type of hindsight.

The doctrine of sudden emergency can be used in any negligence action to limit or preclude the defendant’s liability. Generally in negligence actions, a duty is owed by the defendant to the plaintiff specific to the situation, whether it is driving safely, maintaining real property that others are invited to, or manufacturing safe products. If the defendant failed in maintaining that duty and that failure resulted in an injury or death, then the defendant may be found liable for damages like the medical costs or lost wages of the injured party. The doctrine of sudden emergency is a defense that can only be used in very specific circumstances, like the appellate case described above.

Injuries caused by accidents can result in great pain and financial hardship to the person injured and their family. Life can produce complicated situations, and it may be difficult to claim the compensation that one is entitled to because the fault or responsibility may be unclear. If you have been injured in an accident and need attorneys who understand your unique set of circumstances, call the North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger for a free, confidential consultation at (888) 487-0835.

More Blog Posts:

Warning! Facebook Can Ruin Your Case, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 2, 2013

North Carolina Industrial Commission Ruling Against Injured Worker Upheld by Court of Appeals, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 22, 2013

Posted In: Car Accidents, Truck Accidents

The list of prior client settlement results and client reviews/testimonials, do not constitute a promise of any particular result in any particular case, as each and every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any case cannot be predicted by a lawyer or law firms past results.

If a recovery or settlement by trial is made, the client will be responsible for costs advanced in addition to attorney fees. Client remains responsible for costs, expenses and disbursements, including medical bills, within the scope of representation. The attorney’s contingency percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.

The principal office for Auger   Auger Law Firm is located at 717 S. Torrence St., Suite 101, Charlotte, NC. The attorneys and staff of Auger   Auger Law Firm work and process all of the firm’s files at the principal office location in Charlotte, NC. Other office locations listed on our website are satellite offices that are not staffed daily. Satellite offices are operated for the convenience of our clients and who live outside of the Charlotte, NC metro area and are unable to meet with us at our principal office location. All meetings at our satellite offices must be made by appointment only. Phone numbers for satellite offices forward to our principle office location in Charlotte, NC.

Content Protection by