Auto Accidents Caused by a Sudden Medical Emergency: Who’s Responsible?
Auto accidents commonly occur due to driver error, often by violating the rules of the road or distracted driving. In some cases, however, collisions can occur suddenly and unexpectedly when someone experiences a medical emergency while on the road. When a medical emergency results in an auto accident, can the offending driver be held liable for the collision? The issue of responsibility in collisions caused by medical emergencies is dependent on several factors and is often debated.
If you were involved in an auto accident resulting from a sudden medical emergency, get legal help from Goldasich, Vick & Fulk. Our Birmingham auto accident attorneys can investigate the details of the accident and pursue compensation through all available means.
What Is a Sudden Medical Emergency?
A sudden medical emergency refers to an unexpected and unforeseeable medical event, which can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. A medical emergency is often sudden, and the driver may have little to no warning or knowledge that it is coming. Sudden medical emergencies can include a heart attack, stroke, seizure, or blackout.
Examples of Sudden Medical Emergencies
Here are four examples of sudden medical emergencies that can cause auto accidents:
- Heart Attack: A driver experiencing a heart attack might experience severe chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath, making it hard for them to concentrate or maintain control of the car.
- Seizure: A seizure can cause a driver to lose consciousness suddenly, leading to a loss of control of the vehicle.
- Stroke: A stroke can trigger sudden confusion or paralysis, making it hard for the driver to react to driving conditions promptly.
- Low Blood Sugar: A sudden loss of consciousness due to blood sugar drops can cause a driver to lose attention and veer the vehicle off its lane.
Who’s Responsible for an Auto Accident Caused by a Sudden Medical Emergency?
Are drivers who experienced a medical emergency while on the road responsible for any subsequent collision? The afflicted driver involved in the crash may not be responsible for their medical condition, which allows for the argument that they are not liable for any damages. However, there are select situation situations through which the driver could be held responsible for their medical event, and thereby be held responsible for any ensuing collision. Examples of these situations could include:
- If they knew or should have known that they had a medical condition that would negatively affect their driving but continued to drive anyway.
- If they had a history of medical conditions that put them at risk of having a sudden medical emergency but did not take adequate measures to manage their condition.
- If they were driving against medical advice provided by a physician or medical provider.
Proving the Driver Had a Sudden Medical Emergency
It can be challenging to prove that an accident was caused by a sudden medical emergency, and even more difficult to prove that the adverse driver could have prevented the medical event and/or the collision. Medical records, ambulance reports and witness accounts can all help to establish if the driver had a relevant medical history or whether they experienced a medical emergency at the time of the accident. However, the burden of proof falls on the injured parties to demonstrate fault in the accident.
Speak with Goldasich, Vick & Fulk, Attorneys at Law
In the case of an auto accident caused by a sudden medical emergency, injured individuals should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. At Goldasich, Vick & Fulk we can help you determine who’s responsible for an auto accident that was the result of a sudden medical emergency. Reach out to our office for a case review. Call 205-731-2566.