In 2016, Calvin Cooke and his wife Vivian Cooke were taking a trip to Houston, Texas. While Mrs. Cooke was aiding her husband in navigating, Mr. Cooke had a stroke and crashed into six other vehicles. One of the vehicles that was hit by Mr. Cooke was driven by David Gomez. Mr. Gomez filed a personal injury suit against Mr. Cooke saying that the actions that caused the accident were negligent. Mr. Cooke stated that the accident was caused by an unforeseen medical emergency and this was an “unavoidable car accident”.
An unavoidable car accident is an accident that is not caused by any negligence at all. The argument that the defendant is portraying is that there is nothing he or she could have done to avoid the accident. This defense is seen as an affirmative defense in older Texas law but an inferential defense in newer Texas law. However, claiming the accident was an unavoidable car accident will not be shown to the jury unless there is adequate evidence in support of the claim. If a jury finds that yes, indeed this was an unavoidable car accident then the defendant does not have to pay the plaintiff for any of their damages.
In Gomez v. Cooke, Mr. Cooke suffered from a terrible stroke which caused him to lose consciousness. The paramedics that responded to the scene reported that Mr. Cooke showed clear signs of suffering from a recent stroke. He had no control over this and therefore the accident was unavoidable. The court ruled in Mr. Cooke’s favor and he did not have to pay Mr. Gomez for any of his damages.