When most people think of vehicle accidents, they think of the crash happening as a result of the careless or negligent actions of another driver. However, sometimes, a vehicle accident is caused by one driver experiencing a medical condition behind the wheel. Here, we want to discuss what happens after a medical condition causes a car accident. Particularly, we will look at who could be held liable in these situations and how to handle insurance carriers after a collision occurs.
What Medical Conditions Can Cause Vehicle Accidents?
Many people associate vehicle accidents with some sort of negligence. This can include driver intoxication, distracted driving, failing to follow traffic laws, etc. However, in some cases, crashes are caused by drivers suffering from pre-existing medical conditions or a medical emergency. There are various types of health conditions that can make it unsafe for a person to operate a vehicle, including the following:
- Poor eyesight that cannot be corrected with lenses
- Heart diseases
- Seizure disorders
Some states place restrictions on individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions that could impact their ability to safely operate a vehicle. However, there are some situations where individuals may not know about a medical condition that could cause a driving problem. Often, medical conditions that cause vehicle accidents are new-onset emergencies where a person has no warning. For example, an individual who suffers from a heart attack but has no history of heart disease would have no way of knowing when the incident would occur.
Who Could be Held Liable in These Situations?
Determining liability for a vehicle accident caused by a driver’s health condition can be challenging. Typically, liability for vehicle accidents will be determined by investigating the situation and looking for the negligence of one or both drivers.
The issue with crashes caused by a medical emergency is that there is no “normal” remedy for determining fault. Every case will have to be examined independently and decided based on variables such as intentional negligence, how much the medical condition contributed to the crash, the extent of injuries or property damage, and whether or not there was any shared fault with other drivers involved.
When examining these cases, an insurance carrier, judge, or jury may need to analyze testimony from medical specialists to determine whether or not the driver was aware of the medical condition in the first place. If a driver was aware of their medical condition and how it could impact their driving, then they may be held intentionally negligent for failing to care for themselves and others on the roadway.
If a driver was not aware of their medical condition, or if the medical emergency was sudden and unexpected, it could become more challenging for victims to secure compensation. A driver will typically defend themselves in these situations by explaining that they experienced a sudden emergency and that they had no control over the incident.
Contact an Attorney for Help With Your Claim
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s medical emergency, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can conduct a completely independent investigation, work to determine liability, and handle all negotiations with the insurance carriers involved. If necessary, an attorney will enlist assistance from medical experts who can examine the facts of the case and even speak to insurance carriers or a personal injury.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.