Many car accidents are caused by someone’s negligence or other legal faults, such as a careless or reckless driver making an error behind the wheel, or a defect in a vehicle triggering a mechanical failure and crash. However, some car accidents happen because a driver suffers a medical emergency while behind the wheel. What are your legal rights and options when a medical condition causes a driver to trigger a car crash?
What Happens If Someone Has a Medical Condition That Can Affect Their Ability to Drive?
In some cases, drivers may have a pre-existing medical condition that they are aware of that can impact their ability to drive, such as epilepsy, diabetes, or eye conditions. When a driver knows that they have a medical condition that may impact their ability to drive, they may have a notice or restriction placed on their license. This notifies first responders that a driver may have suffered a medical emergency, while a restriction may prevent a motorist from driving at night or on limited access highways.
Examples of Medical Emergencies That Can Lead to a Car Accident
If a medical emergency causes a driver to lose consciousness or muscle control, or to suffer from changes in mental or cognitive condition, extreme pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath, they may end up losing control of their vehicle and getting into an accident. Examples of sudden medical emergencies that may result in a driver causing a car accident include:
- Extreme pain, which can disrupt a driver’s ability to focus on the road
- Loss of consciousness; even if a driver only momentarily passes out, they may remain disoriented when they regain consciousness
- Changes in mental state, including altered perception or judgment, inability to think clearly, or profound confusion
- Choking or other difficulty breathing
- Loss of muscle control
Heart attack, stroke, hypoglycemic events, and seizure are all common emergencies that can result in a driver losing control of their vehicle and crashing.
Who is at Fault When a Medical Condition Causes a Car Accident?
Fault for a car accident that is caused by a driver suffering a medical emergency may depend on whether the emergency was caused by a pre-existing condition that the driver was aware of. For example, if a driver had been diagnosed as epileptic and failed to take anti-seizure medication, they might be held liable for an accident that occurs because they suffered a seizure behind the wheel.
If a driver suffers a medical emergency without warning, with the emergency coming on so suddenly that the driver could not take reasonable precautions to treat the emergency or pull off the road, then the driver may be excused from liability for a car accident under the sudden emergency doctrine.
Unfortunately, where a car accident is caused by a driver suffering a medical emergency, their insurance company may be reluctant to accept liability for injuries and vehicle damage you suffered in the crash, especially when the emergency did not arise from a known pre-existing condition.
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at CourtLaw represent clients injured because of car accidents in Hoboken, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, East Orange, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 442-5900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market St., Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, Trenton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.