Liability in auto accidents caused by drivers blinded by high beams is generally determined by the rules of negligence. Determining liability often depends on the particular circumstances of the case, but courts sometimes differ on the rules they apply to these cases.

Some courts apply the rule that a motorist must drive within the assured clear distance ahead. They hold that a motorist blinded by high beam headlights must either stop or proceed at such a speed that he can stop in time to avoid any object ahead.  A driver who proceeds ahead when blinded and strikes an object may be found negligent, making him liable to one who was injured or damaged as a result of the collision, or precluding his recovery from the person who had negligently obstructed the road.

Other courts apply the rule that the duty of a motorist blinded by high beams is determined by the standard of ordinary care exercised by a reasonably prudent person under the same circumstances. This rule concludes whether a blinded driver was negligent dependent upon all the circumstances, such as whether the blinded motorist was closely followed by another car, the nature and visibility of the object obstructing the road, and the suddenness of the blinding.

What Are Some Examples Of Cases Where A Blinded Driver Was Held Negligent?

A motorist who was speeding and lost control of his vehicle was found negligent despite the fact that he was blinded by the high beams of an oncoming bus.  The bus driver failed to dim his lights, and the motorist collided with the bus.  The court stated that a driver blinded by lights of an approaching vehicle may not assume that the road ahead of him is clear, and a driver blinded by bright headlights is under a duty to lower his speed and have his car under control, as ordinary care and precautions require.

However, a motorist who was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming truck and slowed his car was not found to be negligent when he collided with the side of the truck which extended over the center line of the highway.  The court held that the motorist was not negligent since he did not deviate from his proper section of the highway by turning too far to either side, and, continuing within his own proper zone of travel, he was justified in assuming that motorists coming from the opposite direction would remain on their proper side of the highway.

Should I Consult An Attorney About Accidents Caused By Failure To Dim High Beams?

If you have been involved in an accident caused by being blinded by high beams, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately.  Proving your case can be difficult and there may be defenses the other party has to avoid liability.  An attorney can help explain the law and your rights so that you can recover damages for your injuries and property damage.