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What Happens If a Medical Emergency Causes a Car Accident?

Were you in a car accident caused by another driver, but that driver says they crashed because of a medical emergency? Pursuing compensation could get difficult because suffering a medical emergency like a heart attack, stroke, or seizure is not caused by negligence.

Typically, the fault for a car accident is assigned by figuring out which driver acted negligently and contributed to the crash. If you didn’t do anything wrong and the other driver was having a medical emergency that caused them to lose control of their vehicle, then they didn’t do anything wrong either. Filing a claim against their auto insurance policy might be an uphill legal battle. You might have a better chance using your insurance policy’s collision coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage if you have it.

The liability defense of suffering a sudden medical emergency isn’t always recognized or upheld in all states and courts, though. Don’t assume that you cannot bring a claim against the other driver just because they say a medical crisis rendered them unconscious or unable to control their car. You should talk with a car accident attorney for details about what to do next.

How Sudden is a Sudden Medical Emergency?

Another reason why the medical emergency defense might not work is that the emergency might not have been as sudden as the driver claimed. If the other driver had even a few brief moments to recognize something was wrong and pull over, then they could be liable for not doing that. Or they could become liable if they had reason to believe that a medical emergency could take place because of their health and medication histories. For example, if someone forgets to take their epilepsy medication, starts driving, has a seizure while driving, and gets into a crash, then they could be liable for having forgotten to take that crucial medication.

Any driver that wants to use the sudden medical emergency defense to avoid liability for a car accident needs to be ready to prove that the crisis really was sudden and unpredictable. If they cannot, then they could still be liable for a car accident they cause. As mentioned, working with a car accident attorney is crucial to make sure that liability is fairly assigned and that everyone involved has a fair chance to get the compensation they are owed.