Generally, auto accidents happen when one or both drivers acted negligently, resulting in a collision. However, sometimes when a driver is driving responsibly and safely, they face an unexpected and sudden event that was beyond their control, causing the accident. For example, the driver getting an unexpected seizure, causing them to lose consciousness and crashing into another vehicle. In such a situation, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for the property damage and bodily injuries.
If you have been in an accident where the other driver suffered from an unexpected medical emergency, the court may deal with your case under the sudden emergency doctrine.
Understanding Medical Emergency Defense and How it may Affect your Case
If you have been involved in a car accident where the other driver was at fault, you can hold them liable for damages. However, if the crash occurred due to an unexpected or unforeseen medical emergency, it may be considered as an Act of God. This is a potential defense that is acceptable in the state of Illinois and can be used to relieve the defendant from liability of the accident.
In order for a defendant to use the medical emergency defense, they must be able to establish that:
- They were rendered unconscious before the accident or crash happened
- The loss of consciousness was unexpected – meaning that they should not have been in and out of consciousness before the accident, as any responsible would have pulled over in such a condition.
- The loss of consciousness and hence control over the vehicle caused the accident
Another important aspect is that the loss of consciousness was unforeseen. This is generally the most contested element of such a case. Sometimes, people have medical conditions that pose the danger of such medical emergencies and require them to avoid engaging in activities, like driving or using heavy machinery. The plaintiff’s attorney may obtain your medical records, request a complete checkup from a court approved physician, and use expert witnesses to bring a personal injury claim.
What Qualifies as a Sudden Medical Emergency?
Some unforeseeable medical complications that may allow defendants to ward off liability arising from personal injury claims include:
- Bad reactions to medication
- Heart attack
- Mental delusions
- Diabetic episodes
- Unexpected drop or increase in blood pressure
Getting Compensation for Damages in a Sudden Medical Emergency Case
If the defendant is able to establish a sudden medical emergency defense, it can be difficult for you to recover damages by filing a lawsuit or making a claim on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. It is likely that you will have to resort to making a claim on your own insurance policy, and get compensation for damages up to its limit. However, there is a chance that your insurance company may deny your claim, giving the same reason as the defendant that it was an Act of God.
It is essential to work with an experienced auto accident attorney in such situations, as they can come up with ways to get compensation for your damages. Contact the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. at (847) 395-2200 or online today to schedule your initial consultation and discuss your case.