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What If a Car Accident Is Caused by a Medical Emergency?

Posted on in Car Accidents

Waukegan Medical Emergency Car Accident AttorneyImagine this scenario: As car 1 is lawfully passing through a dangerous intersection, car 2 comes from their right, runs the stop sign, and T-bones car 1 on the passenger side. The passenger in car 1 suffers severe injuries that incapacitate them for months and leave lasting damage. In most cases, you could rightfully assume that car 2 is at fault for causing this car accident; therefore, the driver of car 2 and their insurance company will have to pay out thousands of dollars in damages to the car 1 passenger.  But is that always the case? No, not always.

In what situations would someone who runs a stop sign not be the at-fault driver in an accident such as the one described above?

One situation is a medical emergency. Suppose the driver of car 2, the one who ran the stop sign, suffered a heart attack or stroke that caused them to lose consciousness. This can happen with no previous warning signs. As long as the driver had no indications that they were not safe to drive, a sudden medical emergency is a defense against liability for the accident.

To be legally at fault, a driver must have been negligent or careless in some way that represents a breach of duty owed to other people on the road. A violation of the law such as running a stop sign would generally be viewed as negligent. However, a sudden medical emergency does not constitute a breach of duty on the part of the driver.

However, if the driver had been warned by his doctor that he should not drive because of his medical condition, and a loss of consciousness was predictable, then the driver might be held liable. As you can see, the determination of fault is very situational and the totality of the circumstances must be considered.

Consult an Experienced Lake County Car Accident Attorney

When someone is seriously injured in a car accident, it is not always clear who is at fault. Whoever is at fault could end up owing thousands of dollars in damages, above and beyond what their insurance will cover. Even if you think it is obvious who was at fault, it does not pay to make assumptions. If you have been in an accident involving serious injuries, before speaking to insurance or police investigators, seek advice from a knowledgeable Waukegan car accident lawyer. For a free initial consultation, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303.




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