• The “Ignorance is Bliss” Defense

    by  • January 19, 2012 • Legal and Enforcement • 0 Comments

    Our “SMIDSY” series continues, featuring this latest editorial found in Bicycling Magazine –

    By Bob Mionske

    “I didn’t see the cyclist.”

    Even though the cyclist was wearing high-visibility clothing. Or was well-lit. Or was riding in broad daylight.

    It’s the “ignorance is bliss” defense: “I didn’t see the cyclist, and I didn’t intend to hit anybody. It was just an accident. It’s nobody’s fault.”

    Well, yes, it is somebody’s fault. It’s your fault, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t “intend” to hit somebody. You did hit somebody, and if you didn’t see the cyclist because you weren’t paying attention, it’s your fault.

    Let’s be clear about this point, because it’s the other Get Out of Jail Free card that negligent drivers always seem to reach for. Intent is not relevant in determining whether a driver was at fault in an accident. In fact, that’s why we call unintentional collisions “accidents.” If the driver intended to hit somebody, that’s assault. If the driver didn’t intend to hit somebody, that’s an “accident.” But just because the collision was unintentional doesn’t mean that nobody was to blame. Almost all collisions are preventable. If the collision occurred because a motorist didn’t see a cyclist who was plainly visible, guess what? It’s the motorist’s fault.  [Continue reading…]

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