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What Happens When a Medical Condition Causes an Accident?

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Can Help You if a Foreseen Medical Condition Caused Your Accident.

Every day, car accidents happen because of distracted driving, drunk driving, and other negligent driving behaviors, making it easier to determine who is responsible for the damages and injuries. The majority of car accidents are caused by human error, but what about crashes that are caused by the unexpected, such as a health issue?

This may seem rare, but it happens more than you may realize. Some statistics show that medical emergencies, such as the driver suffering a seizure or a heart attack, are responsible for nearly 20 percent of all car accidents.

This scenario is recognized as a sudden medical emergency in which a driver can not be held liable for an accident if they had suffered an unforeseen medical issue. This is because during a sudden medical emergency, a driver should not be held responsible for an event that was beyond their control.

What Health Conditions Can Cause a Car Accident?

Some common medical conditions that can lead to a car accident include:

  • Fainting: A person may lose consciousness or faint due to numerous health conditions, but more commonly due to a heart attack or stroke. A person who loses consciousness while driving is at risk of getting into an accident.
  • Seizures: Epilepsy and other seizure disorders can cause a loss of control. Although every state allows drivers with epilepsy to acquire a license, they normally must report their condition to their state’s DMV.
  • Diabetes: When your blood sugar gets too low, you may incur vision problems or even pass out. Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage to the legs and feet, which may cause difficulty when using the vehicle’s pedals.
  • Mental changes: There is a possibility that drivers, particularly older drivers, may suffer a sudden cognitive issue, whereas they could lose focus or control of what they are doing.
  • Loss of muscular control: A stroke or nervous system issue can cause someone to lose control of their bodily functions.
  • Intense pain: Extreme or intense pain, such as chest pain, can come on suddenly, causing a severe loss of focus.

Proving a Sudden Medical Emergency

Although state laws differ, they generally accept the sudden medical emergency defense. However, a car accident claim can get quite complicated should the driver have a pre-existing condition that caused a medical emergency.

If a driver claims the sudden medical emergency defense, then they have the burden of proof for showing the following:

  • They had lost consciousness before the accident occurred.
  • That they had lost consciousness which caused them to lose control of the vehicle.
  • The loss of consciousness was caused by an unforeseen medical emergency.

If a driver can prove all of these three scenarios, then they may be able to forgo any liability. The suddenness of the medical emergency must be entirely unforeseeable. Ignoring doctor’s orders instructing to not drive would not be unforeseeable, for example. Furthermore, if the driver had a history of health issues, then it is possible that the condition could have been foreseen.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Can Help You if a Foreseen Medical Condition Caused Your Accident

A driver may avoid liability for an accident that was caused by a unforeseen medical emergency. However, some drivers ignore health conditions and still drive, putting road users at risk. If a careless driver caused your accident injury, speak with one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.