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Sudden Emergency and Other Unusual Defenses

Sudden Emergency and Other Unusual Defenses

Louisiana is unique in many ways.  But the approach to assessing liability is perhaps as equitable and fair as could ever be imagined.  While there are laws that set forth the rules of the road, there are equally applicable jurisprudentially created defenses.  Among these defenses are the Sudden Emergency Doctrine, the Unavoidable Accident Doctrine and the Unforeseeable Loss of Consciousness Doctrin.

The Sudden Emergency Doctrine simply provides that a motorist who suddenly finds himself in a position of peril could possibly avoid liability.  The theory is that when a sudden emergency arises one does not have sufficient time to consider all the circumstances or best means to avoid the danger.  It is the unanticipated hazard that forms the basis for invoking the sudden emergency doctrine.  The sudden emergency doctrine cannot be invoked by one who created the emergency.  In other words, colliding with a preceding motorist because following too closely is not of the variety of sudden emergencies to which the doctrine would apply.

Louisiana also recognizes the Unavoidable Accident Doctrine which simply provides that a motorist is not negligent for accidents that are unavoidable or inevitable.  As with the Sudden Emergency Doctrine, the one seeking to avail himself of the doctrine cannot be responsible for creating the reason for the accident being unavoidable. 

Also recognized is the Unforeseeable and Sudden Loss of Consciousness Doctrine which provides that one who suffers an unforeseeable loss of consciousness is not negligent for any accident that may occur.  As with the other doctrines, the one seeking to invoke the Unforeseeable Loss of Consciousness defense cannot have created the reason for the loss of consciousness, such as the use of drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car.  With this doctrine the law imposes a higher burden of proof beyond merely a preponderance of the evidence and requires proof by clear and convincing evidence which is a heightened burden which some have suggested is not much different than the beyond a reasonable doubt burden applicable to criminal matters.

Nearly 75 years ago my father, J. Minos Simon, began the family tradition of providing exemplary legal services to the citizens throughout the local communities and the state of Louisiana.  A tradition that I proudly embraced and have tried to fulfill for nearly 30 years.  Simon Law Offices, Cajun Strong, and rebuilding lives throughout Louisiana one client at a time.