|FROM:||The Legal Taxi|
|RE:||Whether ice & snow driving condition abrogate defendant driver’s liability for loss of control of his vehicle?|
Whether ice & snow driving condition abrogate defendant driver’s liability for loss of control of his vehicle?
Client is passenger in an auto driven by a family member. It’s the day after a major blizzard, and the interstate highway is still ice and snow covered, although to what extent and where is in controversy. Defendant driver lost control of his car, hit an abandoned car in the median, and rolled his car, seriously injuring our client. Defendant claims that he lost control because of a sudden change in road conditions and gust of wind that limited his visibility. We allege that he was negligent in driving too fast for conditions and for failing to maintain control of his car. What legitimate defenses does Defendant have? Can the snow & ice, which he knew about, absolve him of liability?
- Relevant Statute & Case
- Summaries of Key Cases
VI. Civil Liability Arising from Operation of Vehicle
F. Effect of Particular Circumstances; Place of Injury
7. Vehicles Proceeding in Opposite Directions
b. Vehicle Approaching in Wrong Lane
(2) Duty and Liability of Driver in Proper Lane
A driver who is approached by a vehicle in the wrong lane and who causes damages while attempting to avoid a collision is entitled to have the question of his or her exercise of due care decided in the light of the emergency doctrine, unless the driver's own negligence caused or contributed to cause the emergency. However, the emergency doctrine may not be applicable if the driver in the proper lane had time within which to form a sound judgment -- that is, if there was, in fact, no emergency.
MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE
CHAPTER VI. OBEDIENCE TO AND EFFECT OF TRAFFIC LAWS
MCLS § 257.633 (2012)
MCL § 257.633
§ 257.633. Violation of speed regulation; specifications in complaint, citation, summons, or notice; burden of proof.
Sec.633. (1) In every charge of a violation of a speed regulation in this chapter the complaint or citation and the summons or notice to appear, shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven and the speed applicable within the district or at the location.
(2) The provision of this chapter declaring speed limitations shall not be construed to relieve the plaintiff in a civil action from the burden of proving negligence on the part of the defendant as the proximate cause of an accident.
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