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The Application of the Emergency Doctrine in New York

While driving in New York, an operator of a motor vehicle must always be aware of his surroundings and drive with the requisite level of care for passengers within his vehicle, as well as, pedestrians and other vehicles sharing the roadways. There are, however, moments where an emergency may happen either to the driver or a passenger, which makes it impossible to control the car, and ultimately, the consequences. 

Exposure to Traffic Increases Risk of Heart Attack

In Science Daily, a study was published that discussed the correlation between traffic exposure and heart attacks. It was hypothesized that the combination of stress, air pollution, and car exhaust associated with being stopped in traffic led to heart attacks at a rate of 3.2 times more than when the sufferer was not being exposed to traffic. The study further discussed that traffic exposure was a more severe trigger in females, older men, people who were unemployed, and those who had suffered previously from angina. With the increased risk of having a heart attack behind the wheel, it is important that there are measures in place to protect those who are caught in the middle of an emergency situation while driving.

Emergency Doctrine in New York

Recently, there have been a series of cases in New York that have shed light on the role of the emergency doctrine. The emergency doctrine provides a defense to drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident who caused the accident due to factors outside of their control. For example, one of the news articles reported on a man who crashed his vehicle because he suffered a heart attack; another discussed a young woman who crashed her car coming back from the beach when her friend unstrapped her bikini. In an attempt to cover herself up, she ended up crashing her car and killing one of her passengers. 

The Basics of the Emergency Doctrine Defense

The emergency doctrine is a defense for a defendant charged with the injury or wrongful death of others as a result of the collision. It is up to the jury to decide whether or not the elements are present to support a finding of the emergency doctrine. The jury must assess the facts and decide first that there was an emergency that satisfies the threshold. The emergency must be the type that is sudden and unforeseeable and not due to the intentional acts of the defendant.

The next part of the emergency doctrine requires that the defendant's reaction to the sudden and unforeseeable emergency was similar to how a reasonably prudent person would respond in that scenario. It is important the emergency be the type that leaves the defendant in a time-limited situation where there is little to no time to reflect or consider how one should or could respond. The jury, when reviewing whether the defendant's response was reasonable, is required to determine that the defendant did not react in a negligent or unreasonable fashion.

New York Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys

If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by a sudden and unforeseeable emergency in New York City, please contact one of our experienced Manhattan personal injury lawyers at Keogh Crispi, P.C. Our attorneys can review your case and determine whether or not the emergency doctrine may apply. Call us today at 212- 818-0600 or contact us online.

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