Easy Eddie was taking a leisurely drive heading east on Route 6 through Hawley. The town was busy, and there were few parking spaces.
Precocious Paul, who was five years old, had just come out of the bakery with his mom and broke away from her grasp running right between two cars directly into the path of Easy Eddie.
Easy Eddie, upon seeing Paul run between the two cars, immediately steered to the left and braked as hard as he could. Fortunately, Eddie was able to avoid Precocious Paul but, unfortunately, Bad Luck Lucy, driving in a westerly direction, could not avoid Easy Eddie who had gone into her lane.
Even though both cars were going slow, there was a violent crash and both Easy Eddie and Bad Luck Lucy sustained injuries.
Bad Luck Lucy decided she was going to bring a lawsuit against Easy Eddie and Precocious Paul\’s mother for not controlling Paul from running into the road.
Question: Does Bad Luck Lucy have a case?
Answer: As against Easy Eddie, Bad Luck Lucy, in all probability will have no claim. There is a doctrine in Pennsylvania called the Sudden Emergency Doctrine. This doctrine stands for the principle that if a driver is presented with a sudden emergency which was not caused in any way by that driver, then the driver is not held to as high a reasonableness of care as he would ordinarily and at times a driver is even excused from following the normal traffic laws. In this case Eddie had a young child run directly in front of his car between two parked vehicles. His options were either to hit the child or attempt to avoid the child by going into the opposing lane of traffic. In actuality, Eddie probably made the most reasonable decision under the circumstances and cannot be found liable to Bad Luck Lucy.
Lucy\’s case against Precocious Paul\’s mother will also be difficult. While ultimately it may be up to a jury to decide if Paul\’s mother was negligent, in all likelihood, very few jurors will consider Paul\’s mother\’s conduct to be so. Paul\’s sudden and unexpected ESCAPE FROM HIS MOTHER would be something for which his mother could not be faulted.
There are accidents that do happen in which no one is legally at fault, and a knowledgeable lawyer would be able to explain this to the victims of the same and avoid an unnecessary lawsuit.