No-Eyewitness Rule Law and Legal Definition

No eyewitness rule is a defunct principle of tort law that the deceased, in the absence of an eyewitness who can testify as to his/her activities during the material moments preceding the accident, is presumed to have been acting in the exercise of ordinary care for his safety.. Many states have abolished the rule. However, in jurisdictions where the rule persists, in survival or wrongful-death actions it can be asserted to counter a defense of contributory negligence.

The following is an example of a caselaw defining the rule:

The no eyewitness rule is that where there is no eyewitness and no obtainable direct evidence as to what a decedent did or failed to do by way of precaution at and immediately before the time he was injured there is an inference he was in the exercise of ordinary care for his own safety.[Fullerton v. Sauer, 337 F.2d 474, 480 (8th Cir. Iowa 1964)]