There are many requirements that a Louisianan must satisfy in order to get a driver's license. Most requirements are common knowledge: an individual must be at least 16-years-old, and the new driver must pass both a written test and an actual driving test. Other requirements are perhaps less obvious, but consistent with the greater purpose of all of the requirements, which is to help prevent against car accidents.
Two recent accidents near the West Bank Expressway underscore the importance of one requirement -- that an individual must be physically able to drive. The accidents occurred within minutes of each other and were allegedly caused by the same driver.
The accident investigation reveals that on a weekday morning, a driver in a pickup truck struck two other cars on the elevated portion of the expressway. The driver then took one of the exits, proceeded through a red light and slammed into another vehicle.
The two accidents caused serious injury and pain and suffering. Several people are in the hospital, including an 8-year-old boy who is in critical condition.
Although the car collision investigation remains underway, police believe that the driver's medical condition may be a cause of the two accidents. This cause is not uncommon. Some medical conditions can make individuals unfit to drive. These conditions typically include those that cause an individual to lose control of their physical being and make him or her unable to control a vehicle, pursuant to the law.
When a medical condition may be a cause of an accident, the person with the condition may not necessarily be liable for the damages and injuries that result. Liability turns on whether the person had knowledge of the condition and its impacts on driving.
For example, a person who suffers an unforeseeable heart attack while driving likely could not predict the onset of this condition and would probably not be responsible, if an accident resulted. The situation would essentially be one of a medical emergency. In contrast, a driver with a long history of a debilitating condition, who may have even been instructed not to drive, and is involved in a similar accident may be liable.
Here, the investigation continues as the authorities attempt to identify what, if any, medical condition may have been at play in the accident. Once the condition is identified, it will become clearer whether the driver had any responsibility, and, perhaps, whether the driver failed to adhere to the requirements of driving.
Source: FOX 8 WVUE-TV, "Multi-car accident on West Bank Expressway in Marrero," Sept. 10, 2013.