Motorcycle Accidents - Sudden Emergency Doctrine
The Sudden Emergency Doctrine is as applicable in motorcycle accident cases as it is in car accident
litigation generally. The doctrine provides that a person who, 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 which a reasonably careful person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.
Regardless, the exercise of ordinary care and safety is required of all operators of motor vehicles.
The ordinary or reasonable care required of a motorcyclist varies with and is dependent on the place, circumstances, conditions, and surroundings; what may be ordinary and reasonable care in the operation of a motorcycle under some circumstances may be negligence under others, although the standard of ordinary and reasonable care itself remains constant.
Thus, it is not possible to make a definitive and specific list of duties to which a motorcyclist is invariably subject. Nonetheless, there are a number of facts or circumstances that often give rise to a question of negligence on the part of a motorcyclist that every motorcyclist should consider. Some of them relate to situations specifically involving motorcycles, but many of these facts and circumstances, however, are common to any person who operates any kind of motor vehicle on a public highway.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 12.3.20]