Washington Law Review
In the recent case of Hutton v. Martin, the plaintiff sued the defendant for wrongful death arising from an automobile collision. The factual issue was whether plaintiff's decedent was contributorily negligent by driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident. There were no eye-witnesses to the accident except the defendant Martin. The trial judge gave the jury the following instruction: "You are instructed that when a person is injured and dies as a result of a collision, a presumption arises that the person killed was at the time exercising due care and that he did all that the situation then and there presented to him required him to do to save himself from injury, when there is no credible evidence to the contrary" On appeal, it was held that giving this instruction is reversible error.
George K. Faler,
Presumption of Due Care by Decedent: An Anomaly Destroyed,
29 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol29/iss1/6