On average, more than 6 million car accidents occur in the United States each year. Some of them have an official cause listed as a medical emergency. Medical emergencies can never be anticipated, especially when someone is driving alone.
A majority of medical emergencies cannot be prevented either. This means that the driver who suffers a medical emergency will likely wind up causing an accident. However, they weren’t technically negligent in their actions, so who can be held liable and how does a plaintiff recover compensation?
What is a medical emergency?
A medical emergency, especially one that is sudden, includes any of the following:
- Heart attack
- Brain aneurysm
- Syncopal episode
- Reaction to medications
- A drop in blood sugar
- Mental delusions
Who can be held liable?
If you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver who experienced a sudden medical emergency, can they be held liable? The quick answer to this question is no. If the other driver is able to prove that he or she suffered a sudden medical emergency while driving, the courts will not hold them liable for the injuries or damage caused by the crash.
However, if the driver had been instructed not to drive by their doctor or another medical professional and caused a crash, the driver cannot use the sudden medical emergency defense and can be held liable for the crash.
At the same time, if the driver began to experience symptoms of passing out, having low blood sugar, or any other medical emergency, and failed to pull the vehicle off the road, he or she can be held liable for the injuries and damage caused in a crash.
Are you on the hook for the accident?
If the driver who caused the accident successfully proves that they suffered a sudden medical emergency, does it mean that you are on the hook for your injuries and the damage to your car? Unfortunately, you could be responsible for paying for your injuries and the damage caused to your vehicle. The court will not hold the other driver accountable if they clearly showed they were unaware of their condition before the incident happened.
Were you injured in a car accident caused by a driver who suffered a sudden medical emergency? If so, the case might not be open and shut. Call Plattner Verderame, PC at 602-266-2002, or complete a contact form found on our website to schedule a consultation today. We operate offices in Phoenix and Tempe to make it easier for our clients to access legal representation.
I have been active in leadership in the Arizona Association for Justice (lawyers who represent injured folks, and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) since 1985. I served as President in 1991. I was an active participant in battles to protect the Arizona Constitution from the insurance industry and big business interests in 1986, 1990 and 1994.
Read more about Richard Plattner