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Does a medical emergency remove a driver’s liability in a crash?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2021 | motor vehicle accidents

There are many issues that could lead to a car crash. One big problem that could quickly become life-threatening is when a driver suffers from a medical emergency. Even if that emergency isn’t necessarily dangerous to the driver, the fact that they will lose control of their vehicle creates an extremely threatening situation for themselves, their passengers and others on the road.

Drivers who suffer from medical emergencies may argue that they are not at fault for a collision, but they may be held responsible in some cases. For example, if they had a long onset of symptoms but chose to drive anyway, then they could face a lawsuit. Similarly, if they knew that they were not supposed to drive because of a medical condition, such as a seizure disorder or uncontrolled diabetes, then being behind the wheel may have been not only unsafe but also illegal.

Do states recognize medical emergencies as a defense to liability?

They do in many cases, but only if the driver can show that the medical emergency was sudden and unforeseen. For instance, a driver who has the sudden onset of a heart attack or the first seizure they’ve ever had would be unlikely to know that these conditions would occur.

On the other hand, someone who is suffering from an allergy and decides to get behind the wheel instead of calling 911 for support should have known they were putting people in danger if they went into anaphylaxis while driving. These are the kinds of scenarios that make a difference if you’re hit and want to make a claim against the driver.

If the other driver claims a medical emergency led to the crash that you were injured in, what should you do?

If the at-fault driver in your case claims that it was a medical emergency that caused the crash and tries to avoid liability, it’s important to discuss your case with your attorney to see what your options may be. You may have the option to pursue compensation despite the emergency occurring, so that you can get your own bills and losses covered by the other party.