“The Sun Made Me Do It!”

A defendant is permitted to argue that the light from the setting sun hindered his vision and that he was not negligent in failing to see (and then striking) plaintiff’s car.

The Kansas Supreme Court rejected the argument of the plaintiff that the defendant was negligent as a matter of law.   The Court said

under Kansas law, when a constant condition exists that knowingly blocks or impairs a driver’s vision, the decision to continue driving without exercising reasonable diligence is negligence as a matter of law.  The so-called blinding light rule from Diaz [206 Kan. 650], however, provides an exception in cases where a driver’s vision is suddenly blocked by some action beyond his or her control. Under such circumstances, the driver is not necessarily negligent for something that occurs while the driver is temporarily blinded. In other words, a sudden occurrence may create a factual question regarding the reasonableness of the driver’s behavior in reacting to the temporary condition.

The Court held that the issue was one for the jury.

The case is Deal v. Bowman, No. 96,868 (Kan. S. C. Aug. 1., 2008).  Read it here.