Not every car accident is caused by the fault of a driver. In some cases, a driver experiences a medical emergency that makes it impossible to control the vehicle, such as a stroke or seizure. The rules surrounding these cases are different than in an ordinary car accident claim. If you get involved in a car accident caused by a medical condition – either yours or the other driver’s – find out who may be responsible for paying for the wreck.
Sudden Medical Emergency vs. Pre-Existing Condition
There are two different scenarios behind a car accident caused by a medical condition: a driver who knew about a pre-existing condition and a driver who experienced a sudden medical emergency. In Georgia, a driver who causes a car accident due to a medical condition may still be financially responsible if he or she knew or had reason to know about the medical condition and the related driving risks.
With a pre-existing condition, injury or illness that the driver knew about, he or she has a responsibility not to drive if it is risky. In this situation, the driver must take reasonable steps to prevent having a medical emergency behind the wheel. For example, if a driver knows he or she is diabetic, the driver should take the proper medications to prevent passing out while driving. If a driver ignores the risks associated with a pre-existing injury and causes a car accident, he or she cannot use the medical emergency doctrine to avoid liability.
If the event qualifies as a medical emergency, however, the driver most likely won’t be liable for related injuries and property damage. By definition, a medical emergency is a sudden or unexpected health condition such as a heart attack, stroke, seizure or brain aneurysm. It is a health condition that the driver was unaware of before the crash. If the sudden medical emergency doctrine applies to a car accident case, the driver that experienced the health problem could not reasonably have foreseen or prevented the crash.
What if Medication Causes a Car Accident?
In a car accident case involving a driver who is impaired by a prescription medication, the driver can be held liable even if it was the first time that he or she took the drug. A driver is responsible for understanding how a prescription medication will impact the ability to drive. If a driver has to take a prescription drug for a medical condition, he or she has a responsibility to test the drug at a safe time to understand how it will affect him or her before driving. If a drug says that it can cause drowsiness, for example, a driver shouldn’t take it before getting behind the wheel. The failure to do so can make the driver liable for a related collision.
How to Prove That a Medical Condition Caused Your Accident
If your car accident case in Atlanta involves a driver who experienced a medical condition and ran into you, it is up to you as the party pursuing financial compensation to prove your case. This means you must provide evidence that the driver most likely could have prevented your crash due to knowledge of a pre-existing medical condition. Evidence that may be available against the at-fault driver includes:
- The driver’s medical history
- The police crash report
- Accident reconstruction
- Signed statements from people who saw the crash
- Testimony from friends and family members who knew about the driver’s condition
- Medical expert testimony
If you were the driver who experienced a sudden medical emergency and wish to defend yourself from liability for a car accident, you can use similar evidence to prove that there was no way you could have known about the condition ahead of time. From either side of the case, hire a car accident lawyer in Atlanta to make it easier to collect evidence and prove your case.