The Colorado Supreme Court recently abolished the long standing “Sudden Emergency” doctrine in automobile negligence cases. In an automobile negligence case in Colorado a jury could be instructed that:
A person, through no fault of his or her own, is placed in a sudden emergency, is not chargeable with negligence if the person exercises that degree of care that a reasonably careful person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.
This instruction could only be presented if some facts support the defense. (e.g. a large object in the roadway dropped from a truck).
Though this argument can be made by a defendant alleged to be responsible for a collision, no special jury instruction is available for the jury. Many times special jury instructions can mislead a jury that the court has made a conclusion that certain facts to exist and confusion may result as to how a jury is to use that instruction along with basic negligence principals.
Regardless, this will be more beneficial to a plaintiff seeking damages for his or her injuries in a motor vehicle accident because it removes an advantage for the defendant who caused the accident.