As a Los Angeles accident lawyer, I know that the SoCal sun’s glares can be brutal.
The sunny climate we enjoy as residents of the Southland is something people across the country would trade in a heartbeat!
The question is, can a driver blame an accident on poor visibility caused by the sun?
The answer is no!
There is no “the sun was in my eyes” defense in California. Cases have discussed the issue, but that’s about it.
Virtually all automobile accidents involve the legal issue of negligence. Negligence deals with whether a driver acted reasonably under the circumstances.
For example, driving faster than the speed limit is often negligence. It’s actually a unique form of negligence called “negligence per se.”
Speed limits are intended to maintain safe navigation on the roads. If a driver exceeds the speed limit and injures someone else, that driver has acted unreasonably because he or she violated a clear-cut law that exists to protect other people on the road from the type of conduct the speeding driver exhibited.
Driving while the sun is in your eyes lends itself to the negligence determination, or whether the driver acted reasonably under the circumstances.
What would a reasonable person do under circumstances where the sun causes limited visibility? Perhaps drive slower, take another route, and be extra cautious so as not to cause harm to others.
There are some practical ways to minimize the sun’s impact. You can wipe down the inside of your windshield to prevent dust particles from trapping the sun’s glares. Don’t be afraid to use your car’s sun visors to block out dangerous rays that may be blocking the approaching car or bicyclist. Sometimes just opening your window can make visibility clearer while turning.
You can also be extra vigilant and drive slower during sunrise and sunset, which are particular dangerous times to drive.
Remember that with earlier sunsets, blaming an accident on the sun does not absolve drivers from liability. So don’t blame it on the sun!
For questions about your case, the Rabbi Lawyer stands ready to assist.