When Does The Sudden Medical Emergency Defense Apply?

17 December 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog

If you are pursuing a car accident claim, then one of the possible defenses the other motorist can use is that of sudden medical emergency. This defense claims that the accident occurred because of the driver's medical emergency. Here are the elements the motorist will need to prove to use the defense successfully:

The Medical Emergency Did Not Build Up Slowly

Driving is one of the most dangerous things people do today, and every motorist should know this. Therefore, every driver who suspects something is amiss should take appropriate measures to avoid causing an accident. For example, when a driver starts to feel pain in their arm, pain in the chest or dizziness, they should pull away from the road and find a place to park until they can figure out the problem. If such a driver continues to drive and ends up causing an accident, it will be difficult for them to use the sudden medical emergency syndrome to escape liability because the medical emergency was gradual, and not sudden.

The Driver Could Not Have Foreseen the Medical Emergency

Secondly, the defendant needs to prove that they could not have predicted that they would experience the said medical emergency while driving. This is necessary because those who know they have a high risk of medical emergencies should not drive; if they drive and cause an accident, they will be held liable for the ensuing damages. For example, a driver should foresee a medical emergency if:

  • They have a history of such emergencies; for example, if they have suffered a heart attack while driving, they should foresee the same thing can happen again.
  • They have been warned by their doctor that they have such a risk.
  • They have been doing things that would cause medical emergencies; for example, a driver with a chronic illness who stops taking their medication should expect medical emergencies.

The Medical Emergency Did Not Cause the Accident

Lastly, the driver may also escape liability by proving that their medical emergency did not cause the accident. This is because just because someone with a medical issue experiences an accident, it doesn't mean that the medical issue caused the accident. In fact, there may be cases where the medical emergency that is thought to have caused the accident actually occurred after the crash or was even caused by the crash.

While medical emergencies do occur, there are motorists who will try to use the defense even when it doesn't apply. Using a car accident lawyer can help you win your case against such motorists.