Lights! Lights!

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Q: More than an hour after sundown, we were struck by an automobile coming in the opposite direction.  That car was rounding a curve toward the left.  My husband had forgotten to turn on our lights.  Suddenly, it came upon our buggy, emerging from the gloom.

A: Your husband’s unexcused omission of lights mandated by law establishes his own negligence.  Lights are intended for the guidance and protection of other travelers on the highway.  Even heedlessly, for your husband to omit the safeguards prescribed by law for the benefit of others, in order that they be preserved in life and limb, is to fall short of the standard of diligence to which people who live in an organized society are under a duty to conform.

As Justice Cardozo once said, “A statute designed for the protection of human life is not to be brushed aside as a form of words, its commands reduced to the level of cautions, and the duty to obey attenuated into an option to conform.”

Nevertheless, the courts are on their guard not to confuse the question of negligence with the question of the causal connection between the negligence and the injury.  Perhaps your traveling without lights was not the only cause of this disaster

Can you show that the driver was in your lane, ran into you purposely, was driving while intoxicated, or was going at such a reckless speed that few things could have aroused and guided his sight?  If so, a jury may be able to conclude that he was at fault, too.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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