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Eagleadjust

Stopping for an animal

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This accident took place in Louisiana on a road that has three lanes each way. Both vehicles were in the far left lane. The posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour. It had been raining and the road was wet. A small animal came from the tall grass on the left shoulder and into the lane. The first vehicle stopped to avoid hitting it . The second vehicle who had been about 15-20 behind the first was unable to avoid hitting the first vehicle. Is there a statue that would make the first driver liable for stopping in a busy roadway for an animal? My initial thought is that that driver endangered other people by stopping suddenly for that animal.

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We aren't really here for legal research, but I can't imagine there's a "statue" (sic) that would objectively make the first car liable, given if by "15-20" you mean the second car was traveling 15-20 feet behind the first and not maintaining a safe distance (e.g., three seconds or 1-1.5 car lengths for every 10 mph in speed) and not properly controlling their own car and traveling unsafely in poor weather conditions. Whether the obstacle by a small animal or other, the first car has an argument that they were trying to avoid damage to their own car and person. If you'd said the first car did a "brake job" on the second because the second was tailgating, a judge might feel differently.

But Louisiana is, as they say, a different animal (no pun intended) from the rest of the country ... or maybe I have my legal theorums mixed up.

"My initial thought is that that driver endangered other people by stopping suddenly for that animal. "

Certainly, everyone's free to have their own thoughts.

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My first thought would be that the driver of the second car endangered

him or herself and any passengers by following too closely to stop

should the first car have to stop suddenly. The reason why the first car

stopped has no bearing. That animal running across the road could just

as easily have been a small child, or an accident that had recently

occurred, or a medical emergency, or any number of other things that

would require the driver of the first car to stop suddenly. The end

result would have been the same, because the second car was following

too closely, and this is neither under the control of, nor the fault of,

the first vehicle.

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