As an Orlando automobile accident lawyer, I have heard a lot of different, incredible explanations advanced by drivers over the last 17 years for why traffic accidents were not their fault.  I’ve heard everything from “your client backed into me — I didn’t rear-end her”, to “your client just appeared out of nowhere – I swear he wasn’t there when I pulled out.”  Until I read this piece, I thought I had heard virtually everything.

The facts of the car accident are pretty simple:  a wealthy money fund manager lost control of his month-old Mercedes Benz in Colorado and struck a physician who was riding his bicycle along with roadway.  The businessman failed to stop the help the injured doctor and allegedly was found later by the police trying to stow his broken side mirror and damaged bumper in the trunk of his car.

Criminal charges were originally filed against the money manager, but the money manager’s prominent criminal defense lawyers were able to convince prosecutors to drop the charges for fear that a felony conviction might affect the ability of the money manager to continue working in the field of high finance.  Due to negative responses from across the country, prosecutors are said to be reconsidering.

Meanwhile, the money manager still has to concern himself with a potentially significant personal injury claim being brought by the seriously injured physician.  At first, the money manager’s representatives told the press that sleep apnea may have played some role in the crash.

But now the defense has come up with something new — the “new car smell defense”.

Apparently, the defense team for the money manager has hired an accident reconstructionist who has opined that “noxious and harmful smells” from the car’s new upholstery may have entered the passenger’s compartment of the car and caused the money manager to have altered consciousness.

It remains to be seen how this defense will play out, but I’m hoping that whoever is representing the injured doctor continues to drive toward recovering the reasonable value of the doctor’s damages, and ignores this seemingly outrageous defense.  Whatever happened to individual responsibility?  Does that fact that this individual has virtually limitless funds mean that he should not be punished for raising such a flimsy excuse for his actions?

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