Car accidents occur regularly; most of the time, it is obvious who is at fault. But what happens if a motorist has a seizure and causes an accident? What if they have a heart attack and lose control of the vehicle? A sudden medical emergency may alleviate the driver of guilt in circumstances when an unforeseen medical emergency causes a motor collision. For more information, speak to a Salem personal injury lawyer today.
The sudden medical emergency doctrine
The Sudden Emergency Defense is a theory under which a defendant is not held guilty or liable for injuries caused by an automobile accident in the event of a sudden and unforeseen emergency. The driver might have been incapacitated either physically or mentally.
A sudden emergency doctrine can be difficult to prove. If necessary, an expert vehicle accident attorney should be there to negotiate and defend the case.
The Sudden Emergency Defense
The most critical aspect of emergency defense is identifying whether the medical emergency was unexpected. To proceed with the claim properly, the judge and jury must find the medical emergency unanticipated.
The sudden emergency argument would not apply if the emergency that hampered the driver was predicted based on the driver’s prior or present medical history.
Sudden medical emergencies
Going unconscious is frightening, but it is especially dangerous when driving. Any motorist suffering from a condition that causes total unconsciousness may be able to invoke the defense of an unexpected medical emergency. Conditions that may cause a blackout during an automobile collision include:
- Heart attack
- Unknown diabetic condition
Elements that must be considered when evaluating liability for vehicle accidents caused by medical issues
A motorist who has a medical emergency must demonstrate unequivocally that they were unaware of any previous illness that may have caused the medical emergency. The motorist who claims medical emergency defense must also establish that they did not act negligently. There are three primary variables to consider while claiming unexpected medical emergency defense:
- Total lack of control as a result of unconsciousness
- Timeline of the emergency and accident
- Medical records and immediate treatment
The time frame of the accident
The speed with which the accident occurred in relation to the medical issue is an important factor in showing unexpected loss of consciousness. No specified amount of time can be used in a courtroom. The accident had to have happened suddenly after the loss of consciousness.