Inevitable Accident is defense in Tort
By: Anjali Tiwari
The unavoidable accident, also known as the inevitable accident, states that a person cannot be held accountable for an accident that was not foreseeable despite his best efforts. According to the law, a high level of prudence is not required; ordinary caution is adequate.
For Example: If X was driving a car and was completely alert and cautious, but his automobile abruptly lost its balance owing to a technical breakdown and collided with a pedestrian. In this situation, the driver would not be held accountable because he took all reasonable precautions. It was inescapable that the accident occurred.
Act of God can also be sometimes inevitable accidents. Example: Acts of God can sometimes be classified as unavoidable accidents. For instance, Y was driving an automobile with all reasonable caution. The road suddenly collapsed due to intense rain and storms, and Y's car collided with several pedestrians. The driver would not be held accountable in this case as well. He couldn't do anything about it because it was absolutely out of his control.
An unavoidable accident, according to Sir Frederick Pollock, is “not avoidable by any such care as a reasonable man, executing such an act, could be expected to take.”
It is necessary for the defendant to establish two things in order to employ the defense of inevitable accident:
1. The defendant had no intention of doing anything wrong.
2. The collision could not have been averted even if adequate precautions had been taken. The defendant can clearly deny any responsibility but it’s difficult to satisfy. The most prominent defense used by the defendant is that there was an unanticipated blackout just before the crash. In that case, the defendant has to prove that there was a sudden medical illness.
The defendant was driving down the street when he suffered a heart attack. He collided with a passer-by and onlooker as a result of his sudden arrest. The case was taken to court, and the defendant claimed that the collision was unavoidable. He even presented the court with his medical history of cardiac arrest to back up his case. However, the judge ruled against the defendant. The defendant could not prove that the arrest was unexpected at the time of the accident, which was a need for the plea of inevitable accident, according to the honorable judge. Second, the defendant was well-known for his cardiac arrest condition. He should not have driven in the first place. As a result, the mishap was not unexpected and might have been averted. As a result of driving while suffering from a serious sickness, he should be held responsible for the accident.
Hidasi v. Hidasi,. 2011 BCSC 583
The second case law is Hidasi v. Hidasi, where the defense of an inevitable accident was accepted by the court. The plaintiff in this case is the woman, while the defendant is the husband. Both the husband and the wife were on a mountain road. Because the defendant was aware of the slick road, he took all necessary precautions. He was moving at a speed of less than 100 kilometers per hour. However, the car's balance was lost in some way. The defendant applied the emergency brakes, but they were ineffective, and the car collided with a nearby barrier, injuring the plaintiff. The plaintiff sued the husband, alleging that he drove erratically and failed to take the necessary precautions. The defendant claimed that the accident was inescapable. The court accepted the defense's argument that the car lost control due to a mechanical problem that was completely beyond the defendant's control.
1. Hidasi v. Hidasi,. 2011 BCSC 583