The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in favor of a Plaintiff’s wrongful death claim. Plaintiff’s decedent was a pedestrian who was struck and killed by Defendant’s vehicle. The Defendant filed a motion in the trial court to dismiss the Plaintiff pedestrian’s case alleging that since he was dressed in dark clothing and there was a lack of lighting in the area, he was not able to avoid the collision. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss and the appeals court affirmed this decision.
The appeals court held that, at common law, defendant had a duty to look out for pedestrians such as the decedent pedestrian. Because this duty was established, the trier of fact was required to determine if Defendant breached the duty of reasonable care owed under the circumstances. Although the Decedent had passed and could not dispute Defendant’s testimony, he was observed by two other individuals prior to his death. These individuals called 911 with concerns that an individual with all black clothing was walking near the freeway.
Further, Defendant’s sudden emergency doctrine was misplaced according to the court. Defendant testified that he never saw the pedestrian until after the collision. The sudden emergency doctrine does not apply if the sudden emergency was of the making of the Defendant. Here, since he did not see Plaintiff’s decedent before the collision, he was not looking at the roadway for some reason.
If you have been involved in a wrongful death situation, it’s very important to retain a knowledgeable personal injury attorney here in Michigan that knows what to look at in these kinds of situations. John T Alexander is the kind of attorney that you want to discuss your potential case with. Feel free to contact John T Alexander by calling him at (248) 290-5600.