PA Supreme Court Issues Ruling on Sudden Emergency Doctrine

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in an auto accident case has set a precedent that will likely put an end to the use of the sudden emergency doctrine, which shields drivers from liability if they can prove that an unexpected hazard caused the crash.

The underlying case involved a driver who struck a pedestrian in dark clothing in the early morning hours. The Supreme court said in its opinion that if the jury hadn’t been instructed to consider the doctrine, it would have found the driver negligent. The case was remanded for a new trial under the court’s instructions.

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