While many Woodland Hills drivers are unlikely to complain about treacherous driving conditions caused by snow and heavy rain, they may face an unexpected hazard on the road: sun glare. Sun glare occurs when the sun is rising or setting and it effectively blinds a driver on the road. Even if you try to make adjustments by pulling down the driver’s side visor or leaning forward, an auto accident can occur. Most drivers do not anticipate sun glare and thus do not have enough time to react when the sun overtakes them.
Sun glares and accident liability
If you are in a car accident and visibility due to the sun is an issue, would you be held liable? The answer is most likely yes, unless you are found to have been reasonably careful. Even so, it is the driver’s responsibility to take steps to prepare for glare. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Woodland Hills to discuss your legal rights.
Cases across the country have examined the issue of whether a driver can raise the defense of “sun glare;” as in, “I could not see the pedestrian because the sun was in my eyes.” In California, a family sued the City of East Palo Alto as well as the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed the family’s six-year-old as she crossed the street on her way to school one sunny day. The driver claimed the sun’s glare made it impossible to see. The city settled and claims against the driver are pending.
An appellate court in New York rejected the defense of “sun glare,” holding that the driver should have anticipated occasional sun glares, given when the accident occurred (late afternoon in February). In that opinion, the court rejected application of the “emergency doctrine,” which provides that when someone is faced with sudden and unexpected circumstances and has to make a speedy decision, the person might not be held liable for injuries if the actions were reasonable and prudent. The court explained that the sun could not be considered an “emergency.” These decisions are good news for Woodland Hills accident victims who are dealing with a driver using “sun glare” as a defense for causing an accident.
Sun glare and California roads
Sun glare can be a reality on Southern California roadways. However, this does not mean that if a driver causes an accident and injures you or a loved one, he can blame it ‘on the sun.’ If you or a family member is involved in an auto accident, make sure your legal rights and potential for financial recovery are protected by reaching out to a knowledgeable auto accident attorney today.
For more information on how to file a lawsuit after being injured in an auto accident, contact attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.