Every so often, a car accident due to medical emergency makes the news. What happens when someone’s medical emergency causes an accident? Can you still recover compensation from them and their insurance company, or do you have to foot the bill on your own?
The sudden medical emergency defense
Ohio is one of the states that recognizes the sudden medical emergency defense. Most car accident cases proceed on a theory of negligence, in which the driver’s negligence caused the accident, and therefore, they are liable.
Sudden medical emergencies, however, are different. As long as the accident wasn’t foreseeable, the driver who experienced the emergency didn’t act negligently. Therefore, they are not liable.
Sudden medical emergencies and foreseeability
The sudden medical emergency defense requires that:
- The defendant suddenly lost consciousness;
- The sudden loss of consciousness caused them to lose control of the vehicle; and
- The loss of consciousness was caused by an unforeseeable medical emergency.
This defense typically hinges on whether the emergency was foreseeable. For example, a driver with a history of blackouts and seizures could reasonably foresee that an emergency could happen when they were behind the wheel.
Similarly, if a defendant had more than a moment between when they realized something is wrong, and when they lost consciousness, it could impede their defense. The plaintiff may be able to successfully argue that the defendant had enough time to pull over before the medical emergency occurred.
Most successful defenses involve cases where the defendant lost consciousness with no warning, such as experiencing fainting, brain aneurysms, stroke, heart attack or seizures.
Furthermore, the defendant’s medical history is important. If the defendant had reason to believe that their medical condition could cause them to lose consciousness, that indicates the accident was reasonably foreseeable. For example, a person with a history of fainting due to diabetes could be held liable, if they didn’t follow their doctor’s recommended treatment.
Finally, drivers whose doctors advised them against driving due to their medical condition may not be able to successfully assert this defense.
If you were hit by a driver who claims a sudden medical emergency, you need skilled legal assistance. The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you recover compensation for your injuries, if the other driver was at fault. We’ll evaluate your claim and let you know which legal options may be available.
Call an Ohio car accident attorney today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your car accident claim. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away.