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When Here Comes the Sun, Be Prepared

I have blogged about defendants in automobile accident cases who will attribute a collision to weather conditions that they claim made the accident unavoidable. Of course, my rejoinder is that a driver acting reasonably must take into account the prevailing weather or road conditions. Inclement weather is one such defense that comes up. Seriously, though, doesn’t reasonable conduct require a driver to proceed slowly and not to be able to say I couldn’t do anything about it. (There are some instances, of course, where this defense may be valid but often it is not, as the driver was going too fast under the circumstances.) Sun glare is an interesting defense which I have seen attempted on more than a couple of occasions. There are not many cases from Massachusetts concerning sun glare. However a 1995 appeal from a motor vehicle surcharge speaks impliedly to this issue. In a Superior Court decision on the driver’s appeal from a finding of fault, the judge noted that the other vehicles were able to stop safely under the same circumstances and thus gave no credit to a state police report which determined that sun glare caused the accident. Dumont v. Board Of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability, 1996 Mass. Sup. Ct. LEXIS 202 (1996). In addition to using the fact that other drivers were able to avoid the accident and thus were not encumbered by sun glare, I like to say, “Try sunglasses.”

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