Under Canadian law, you are not entitled to receive damages in an auto accident claim if you are unable to prove that the person responsible for the accident was negligent. This opens up a serious loophole that many defense lawyers will take advantage of in auto accident lawsuits: the “unavoidable accident” defense.
The unavoidable accident defense is most commonly used in accidents involving the following circumstances:
- The presence of black ice on the road
- A collision with an animal
- Loss of consciousness of the driver
This is not an easy defense to prove, but in certain situations, it can be very effective. It is the defense lawyer’s responsibility to conclusively prove that the accident was unavoidable. The presence of the above-mentioned circumstances does not necessarily mean that an accident was unavoidable.
Unavoidable Accident Scenarios
It is quite common for drivers to hit a patch of black ice that was not necessarily observable, causing the vehicle to enter a skid that leads to an accident. In this case, the unavoidable accident defense would most likely prove successful. However, if there were warnings about the presence of icy roads and dangerous driving conditions, or if the driver had experienced similar road conditions in the past and could reasonably be expected to know how to handle them, the unavoidable accident defense would most likely not work.
This same logic applies to the other circumstances mentioned above. If you lose consciousness behind the wheel, you must prove that this was an unforeseen event in order to successfully use the unavoidable accident defense. If you suffer a heart attack or stroke that was completely unexpected, the accident will probably be deemed unavoidable. However, if you have a prior history of medical conditions causing you to lose consciousness, this defense will most likely not be viable.
Defeating the Unavoidable Accident Defense
Frequently, insurance companies will urge defense lawyers to try and use the unavoidable accident defense in an attempt to avoid paying out on your claim. You will need an lawyer who is well-versed in this particular law and understands how to litigate your case in a way that will make this defense strategy ineffective. At Stephens & Holman, we have handled automobile accident cases involving the unavoidable accident defense and have successfully won settlements for our clients in these claims.
Please contact the Vancouver, British Columbia, auto accident lawyers at Stephens & Holman today by calling 604-730-4120 to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.