Who Is Liable If Medical Emergency Caused Accident?

The person that is sitting in the driver’s seat might become unconscious or have heart attack, while traveling down the road. That unfortunate event could cause a car accident. Who would be responsible?

Most states have something called a sudden medical emergency defense.

According to that provision in the law, drivers that were not in control of their actions should not be held responsible for any accident that was caused by the same actions. Still, even in states that allow for the introduction of such a defense, the defendant must present certain proofs.

What do defendants need to prove, in order to make use of the sudden medical emergency defense?

• Proof of the defendant’s loss of consciousness before the accident has to be shown.
• Proof of the fact that the defendant’s loss of consciousness resulted in an inability to control the driven vehicle must also be shown.
• Evidence of an unforeseeable medical emergency needs to be presented. That should show that the driver had no chance to make changes and to avoid an accident.

Who must pay compensation to the victim of such an emergency-related incident?

If the accident had taken place in a no-fault state, then the insurance company of the injured driver could be held responsible for paying that compensation. In a state without no-fault insurance, the injured driver could seek help from his or her own insurance company, if that same company had sold the policyholder a comprehensive package.

What an insurance company might want to learn about a state’s efforts towards oversight of drivers that could cause a medical emergency.

Most states ask anyone applying for a driver’s license to state whether of not he or she has ever had a seizure. Still, the inclusion of such a question in the application form does not help with identifying every driver that has a history of seizures.

One young girl passed her driver’s test and got her license. At that point in her life, she had never had a seizure. Yet she did experience a seizure when she turned 19 years old. Still, no one saw a need to tell her about how she had a new status, in the eyes of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Later that year, she had left her home state, as well as her access to a set-of-wheels. Not until next did she get a car, and apply for a license. That was when she learned that she had to get a note from her neurologist, before being granted a driver’s license. Fortunately, she got the needed paper from her neurologist. Still, she knew that she had been driving other vehicles, before getting one of her own.