Vanderbilt Law Review


John W. Wade

First Page



The decision of whether a defendant is negligent is normally for the jury to decide. This year, as in other years, the Tennessee courts have taken frequent opportunity to emphasize this,' though a directed verdict is proper when the jury could reasonably reach only a single result. The negligence issue is submitted to the jury in terms of the usual standard--whether the defendant acted as a reasonable prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. At times some of the circumstances may be more specifically adverted to in the instructions. Thus, under the "emergency", or "sudden peril doctrine," specific reference is made to the emergency and the jury may be told that "he is not held to the same accuracy of judgment as would be required of him if he had time for deliberation." The only cases raising this matter during the Survey period did so for the purpose of emphasizing the limitation on the "doctrine" to the effect that it is inapplicable when the defendant creates the emergency by his own negligence.

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