Imagine being in a car accident in the late afternoon. The other driver gets out of their car and says, “I was blinded by the sun and didn’t see you!” The other driver may have been unable to see, but now you’re hurt and without a car. Does sun glare excuse them from compensating you for your losses?
The source of sun glare is either direct or reflected sunlight. The intense exposure of the sunlight disables your ability to contrast the light from what you are focusing on: the road.
Your pupils react to the glare by constricting to minimize the scattered light inside your eyeball. Ultimately, the effect is temporary blindness. But even just a moment of lost sight can be dangerous on a crowded road while driving at the speed limit.
Sun glare is surprisingly a common factor in car accidents. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration accounts for sun glare as a “critical reason” for 16% of environmental-related accidents. That is the second highest environmental factor after slick roads.
It’s not just other cars on the road who are put at risk by sun glare. Because glare blocks so much from your field of vision, smaller objects can be totally obscured. That means glare can cause a driver to be completely unaware of motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are nearby.
Is blindness from sun glare a defense to a car accident in Nevada? The short answer is: yes, but only under very narrow circumstances. The more important legal question to ask is: how did the sun glare show negligence in your accident?
In 1961 the Supreme Court of Nevada heard a car accident case called Johnson v. Brown. Howard Johnson, then five years old, darted across the street and was struck by Forest Brown, who was driving the speed limit at 25 miles per hour. The accident occurred in July at 7:30 pm, which was 10 minutes before sunset. Brown did not see Johnson because of the sun glare. However, the police said Brown was driving normally at the time of the incident. They said it was simply an accident.
Howard’s legal team insisted that driving normally was not enough when sun glare is a possibility. The driver must take more precautions. But the Court did not agree. Drivers are at fault for car accidents when they have done something careless to cause it. The Court recognized that it was bad policy to punish a driver who was otherwise obeying all traffic laws.
Therefore, a driver is at fault if they were temporarily blinded by sun glare and otherwise driving negligently.
The rule from Johnson v. Brown does not make it impossible to pursue an accident claim involving sun glare. The personal injury professionals at Sam & Ash use their experience with these accidents to find negligence and build your case. Every case is different and presents unique facts. However, many sun glare cases have involved the following:
Even if you were driving responsibly, sun glare can cause your accident. Mitigating the effect of sun glare is easier than paying doctor’s and mechanic’s bills, so be prepared for the sun:
When someone crashes in to your car and blames it on the sun, get a second opinion. Call Sam & Ash to find out if your accident should be compensated. We’ll be available even after the sun sets for a free consultation. You can speak with a personal injury professional 24/7 at 702-820-1234.