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§49.2 Driving with Obstruction to Vision

The Case: Davis v. Wilson , 522 S.W.2d 872 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1975), perm. appeal denied, (May 12, 1975).

The Basic Facts: This is an action for personal injuries resulting from an automobile collision. The defendant appealed the jury verdict for the plaintiff on the basis of plaintiff's contributory negligence in driving with a partially obscured windshield.

The Bottom Line:

  • "Defendants next insist that plaintiff was negligent in cleaning only one half or less of his own windshield and that he negligently drove directly into the left side of defendants' trailer. This Court cannot say that the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, shows him to be guilty of proximate contributory negligence as a matter of law, hence this Court cannot set aside a jury verdict on this ground." 522 S.W.2d at 876.

  • "Defendants rely upon testimony that only part of plaintiff's windshield was clear of frost, that, by plaintiff's own admission, his vision was obscured by condensed fog on the windshield at the time of impact; and that plaintiff was driving 50 miles per hour. Of course, driving a vehicle with no vision whatsoever would be negligence as a matter of law; but objscured [sic] vision is less than perfect vision, which is a matter of degree, and projects issues of fact for the jury as to how badly the vision was obscured, whether a reasonably prudent person whould [sic] have attempted to drive under such a handicap, and whether the obscurity of vision was one of the proximate causes of the collision." Id. at 876-77.

  • "Defendants rely upon plaintiff's statement at the scene that, '... the glare of the truck hit my windshield. The glare on the windshield blinded me... .' Apparently defendants insist that being blinded by glare of headlights on a windshield partially obscured by frost constitutes negligence as a matter of law. This Court cannot agree with such insistence. It is well known that the formation of ice, frost or fog upon a windshield in certain weather conditions is not noticeable until emphasized by a beam of light. Whether such a situation confronted plaintiff in this case was for the jury." Id. at 877.

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

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The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

To order a copy of the book, visit www.dayontortsbook.com. John also blogs regularly on key issues for tort lawyers. To subscribe to the Day on Torts blog, visit www.dayontorts.com.

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