How The Defendant In A Motor Vehicle Injury Claim Might Use The ‘Inevitable Accident Defense.’

It is important to understand that in an automobile accident there can be no claim for damages if the person causing the accident can’t be proven negligent.

If you are a passenger in a car that has hit a deer and you have been injured, you may not necessarily be able to make a successful claim for damages against the driver. The driver can use the defense that it was an unavoidable accident.

The unavoidable accident defense is often used in the following circumstances: black ice, stray animals, or loss of consciousness of the driver. This is a difficult defense to prove but it can be successful. The defendant’s insurer will be the one to raise this defense.
Everyone has hit a patch of black ice or watched cars swerve down the road in icy conditions. However, just because it’s icy, doesn’t mean that a person can claim the accident was unavoidable. If there had been warnings about driving conditions, or the person had driven in similar conditions before and had knowledge of what to expect when driving at certain temperatures, then claiming that losing control of a vehicle on black ice is unlikely to be a successful defense.

Similarly, an accident that is caused by someone losing consciousness at the wheel might be difficult to prove as unavoidable. If, for instance, the person had a heart attack that was completely unexpected, with no previous medical history, then such an accident might be considered unavoidable. If, however, the loss of consciousness was due to a pre-existing medical condition that the driver was aware could lead to black outs, then he or she could not use the defense that the accident was unavoidable.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with Personal injury law issues in the Vancouver, British Columbia Region, contact Stephens & Holman.

This article is taken from a December 2, 2008 interview with Simon Holman, LL.B., Personal Injury Lawyer with Stephens & Holman in Vancouver , a Personal Injury Law Firm.

Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.