Q: It was summer, and we were all 19. Jill was driving, with one passenger in the front and three in the rear, including Jack and me. We had spent the day at the beach, and were traveling home on the Thruway.
During the first 15-20 minutes, Jack spit chewing tobacco out the window, opened an umbrella inside the car, and leaned out of the window to use the umbrella to clean the car. He even stuck his feet over the center console into Jill’s face. Well, it was his birthday.
Then Jack pulled at the strings supporting Jill’s top. To cover herself, she took her hands off the steering wheel, for a split second. The car began to veer to the right. Jill grabbed the steering wheel, to steer the car back into the lane – but it was all too late.
A: Under the ‘emergency doctrine’, a person in an emergency situation is not held to the same accuracy of judgment or conduct as one who has had full opportunity to reflect. Jill will contend that she was faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance which left little or no time for thought, deliberation or consideration, and caused her to be reasonably so disturbed that she needed to make a speedy decision without weighing alternative courses of conduct.
Your attorney will need, against high odds, to make a convincing argument that Jill enjoyed a full opportunity to reflect on the ongoing situation, and to weigh alternative courses of conduct. He or she will need to pursuade the jury that the culminating conduct was preceded by a series of similar incidents – so that Jack’s ultimate act cannot be deemed sudden or unexpected. Good luck.
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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