From Charlottesville, Virginia

Covering the state of Virginia, Wilson & Hajek, a personal injury law firm, is centrally located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Francis Hajek is an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney and lawyer who provides aggressive representation and personal service to his clients who have suffered injuries. Since 2007, he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Sudden Emergency Defense in Car Accident Cases

Car Accident - Personal Injury - Virginia - Sudden Emergency Defense

Personal injury case law in Virginia permits a defendant in a car accident case to raise the defense of sudden emergency. What this means is that the defendant is claiming that he or she was confronted with some set of circumstances that did not give time for the deliberate exercise of judgment. The defense does require that the defendant prove that he or she acted reasonably under the circumstances. Virginia case law holds that this type of defense should rarely be permitted. It is only appropriate where the emergency is truly an unexpected event and, most importantly, it is not a result of the emergency being created by the driver's own negligence. For instance, puddles of water on a highway during a rainstorm should be anticipated by the prudent driver. The puddles are not "unexpected." Also, it is not "unexpected" that a car in a line of traffic will stop suddenly. So you can see that there are actually very few occasions where such a defense is going to be available.

Francis P. Hajek
Wilson & Hajek, LLC, a personal injury law firm
Experienced Injury and Accident Lawyers
Serving Virginia, including Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, Staunton, Waynesboro


  1. Was hit by a car from behind on Quantico Base. Driver ran the gate, then tried to pass two cars behind me crossing a double yellow line in a 25 zone. I was hit from behind at 40 mph. He was reported by family from NY as a missing person, and is claiming mental heath issues. After hitting me he continued to driver and when chased, exited the vehicle to run on foot.He is still in the hospital, and his insurance company is claiming sudden emergency, so they won't move on the insurance claim. Also claiming sudden emergency and no liability to pay claim. So add this to the loophole! If you have a mental issue for three days, although not sudden, your insurance company can claim sudden emergency. I can find an attorney to touch the case. This is huge loophole!!!

  2. Interesting comment. The defense of sudden emergency may include a medical condition. One question would concern the car being driven by the person claiming the defense. Where did he get it? Di he have permission to drive it? Is it insured?