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