As the summer unfolds, many of us will be piling into our cars to enjoy the scenery around us. With increased traffic on the roads (and the invariable construction), however, accidents become more prevalent. When accidents do occur, one doctrine of law serves to insulate some drivers from fault. It is called the Emergency Doctrine.

The doctrine provides that: When an actor is faced with a sudden and unexpected circumstance that leaves little or no time for thought, deliberation or consideration, or causes the actor to be reasonably so disturbed that the actor must make a speedy decision without weighing alternative courses of conduct, the actor may not be negligent if the actions taken are reasonable in the emergency context, Rivera v. New York City Transit Authority, 77 NY2d 322 (NY 1991).

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