Colorado Court Abolishes Accident Emergency Rule

January 23, 2013

The Colorado Supreme Court is doing away with an emergency exception for people involved in accidents because it could mislead jurors.

In a ruling handed down Tuesday, the court ordered a new trial for a man who sued after he was hit by a car that skidded across an icy patch in the road near Telluride in 2004. The jury ruled in favor of Michael Johnson, who skidded into a car driven by Richard Bedor. Bedor was injured and filed a negligence lawsuit.

The Supreme Court says jurors may have been confused after they were told a person confronted by a sudden emergency cannot be expected to respond normally. The high court abolished the doctrine entirely, saying the potential to mislead a jury outweighs the benefits.

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