Who is At Fault in a Crash Caused by a Medical Condition?

Many things may cause a car crash, even an existing medical condition. The cause of a car accident plays a key role in determining who is liable for the crash. If you suffer a car crash in Orange County, you will need to prove the liability of the at-fault driver before you can recover damages. An Orange County car accident attorney can help you with establishing fault and recovering compensation.

For most car accidents, the fault is relatively clear. If a driver runs a red light and causes an accident, the speeding driver is clearly at fault. Similarly, if you are hit by a speeding driver, you can prove that the other driver was well above the posted speed limit in order to establish liability.

However, establishing driver liability is not so straightforward in crashes caused by a medical condition. Here is a look at how liability works in such incidents.

Pre-Existing Medical Condition

When looking at a crash caused by a medical condition, a judge will look at whether the condition existed before the crash. If its onset date was before the date of the crash, the next thing would be to ask whether the driver was aware of the condition. The nature and severity of the pre-existing condition will also be considered.

In general, if a pre-existing medical condition exists, the driver suffering from it is considered responsible for ensuring their own proper monitoring and care. For instance, if a diabetic driver had a history of blackouts, and then drove and caused a crash after suffering a blackout, the driver will be held liable.

However, there may be instances where a driver experiences a new symptom, in spite of a pre-existing condition. In such a case, the law will consider how likely the new symptom was and could the driver have known about it and prevented it in advance.

Sudden Medical Emergency

When a medical emergency occurs with no prior history of a related condition in the driver, this is known as a sudden medical emergency. For instance, if a driver suffers a heart attack with no previous history of a heart condition, this qualifies as a sudden medical emergency. Other types of sudden medical emergencies include:

  • Loss of Orientation: A complete loss of orientation or dizziness may suddenly impair a driver to the point of causing an accident.
  • Choking: If a driver suddenly chokes on something, this can create a state of panic and emergency which may lead to a crash.
  • Mental Impairments: A driver may suffer some form of mental impairment which can impair driving judgment and cause a collision.
  • Loss of Consciousness: This is the most common type of medical emergency that causes road accidents. Loss of consciousness may be caused by a heart attack, blackout, or any other underlying condition.
  • Pain: Many medical conditions can create a sense of extreme and sharp pain in a part of the body. For instance, an illness may cause a severe and blinding headache that can temporarily prevent the driver from being able to control a vehicle.

All the types of medical emergencies listed above qualify as a sudden medical emergency only if the driver had no related pre-existing medical condition. In such a case, the driver who suffered the medical emergency which led to the crash will not be held liable for the crash.

However, the driver will need to prove that he or she had no previous history or indication of a medical condition that caused the subsequent emergency. If any previous record or history of a related illness exists, it may be possible to hold the driver liable.

If a driver defends against a car crash claim on the basis of sudden emergency doctrine, the driver is responsible for:

  • Proving that a medical emergency occurred
  • Showing that the medical condition was sudden and severe enough to make the driver lose control of the vehicle
  • Proving that the driver had no reason to foresee the emergency

Why Hire An Orange County Car Accident Attorney?

If you have been involved in an Irvine crash caused by a sudden medical emergency, it is important to hire a reliable Orange County car accident attorney. Here at the Crockett Law Group, we help you seek the maximum amount of compensation for your crash-related losses. We also cross-examine claims of a sudden medical emergency to see if they are truthful or simply meant to avoid paying up damages. Reach out to us today to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.

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