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What is an 'inevitable accident'?

When you're involved in a car accident, it may seem obvious who the at-fault driver is. However, sometimes a driver who is held liable can argue in court that it was an "inevitable accident." This defence is sometimes used when an accident was caused by factors that were beyond the driver's control.

This can include things like weather or an animal running into the vehicle's path. Essentially, it is something that could not have been reasonably prevented or anticipated by the driver and was not the result of any negligence by the driver. It may be difficult to hold drivers liable if they are able to show that the accident was beyond their control.

Another type of defence that falls under the category of an "inevitable accident" is known as an "explanation." It involves an issue either with the vehicle or the driver. This defence requires the defendant to provide evidence that he or she could not have prevented the accident no matter how much care was taken.

For example, drivers who have a medical emergency such as a heart attack or a stroke may be able to use this defence. However, drivers who are aware that they have a medical condition that may impact their driving likely are not going to be able to use this defence. Another example of an explanation defence could involve some type of malfunctioning of the vehicle, such as the brakes suddenly failing.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and the at-fault driver uses one of these defences, it is wise to seek the advice of an experienced Ontario lawyer. He or she can work to determine whether the driver can and should be held legally responsible.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "What does 'inevitable accident' mean?," accessed Jan. 27, 2016

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