Who is Liable for a Crash Due to a Sudden Medical Emergency?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on August 28, 2020 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

man clutching chestWhat happens if the driver who caused your car accident claims that he or she had a sudden medical emergency and is therefore not liable for your damages?

While a sudden medical emergency is a real thing, it is not uncommon for at-fault drivers to try to avoid financial liability for an accident by claiming they blacked out. To help rule out instances of medical emergencies or “Acts of God” that did not happen, there are certain requirements that must be met before an at-fault driver can use that defense in a lawsuit.

PKSD Law discusses sudden medical emergencies in Wisconsin and how state law may impact your ability to pursue a claim.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver claiming a sudden medical emergency, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can help to protect your legal interests and determine whether there is a valid case.

Call our firm to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Get answers to your legal questions and learn more about how we may be able to assist you.

Understanding Wisconsin’s Medical Emergency Doctrine

If a person suffers a medical emergency and was not able to foresee the likelihood of such an event, he or she may be relieved of all liability for that incident. In short, he or she will not hold any financial or legal responsibility for either an event or behavior that may have stemmed from the claimed medical emergency.

Common unexpected medical emergencies that may cause an accident if driving:

  • Heart attack
  • Brain aneurism
  • Seizure
  • Blackout

If you are injured in an accident caused by a driver claiming to have suffered a sudden medical emergency, we strongly recommend that you contact one of our Milwaukee car accident attorneys for legal assistance as soon as possible.

Determining if the Medical Condition Was Foreseeable

If the at-fault party knew or should have known about his or her medical condition, then it follows that they also likely knew about their increased risk for having a heart attack, seizure or blacking out without warning.

Pre-existing medical conditions that the at-fault party may have been aware of include:

  • Currently being treated for heart disease
  • Diagnosis of diabetes
  • On medication for a seizure disorder
  • Known eye condition that impacts a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle

Some states place restrictions on patients who suffer from certain medical conditions, such as seizures that are not under control, even with the help of medication. Additionally, if someone has a seizure disorder and has been prescribed medication to control it but was not taking it at the time of the crash, then he or she may be liable.

Collecting Evidence to Establish Liability

Each case is unique, so how the court and insurance companies may work to determine liability will vary. Attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant will gather testimony from medical experts and investigate the defendant’s prior medical history to determine whether an accident due to a medical condition may have been foreseeable.

Other action that your attorney may take to investigate whether the incident was unforeseeable includes:

  • Proving that the driver had suffered prior incidents of blackouts
  • Obtaining copies of the defendant’s medical records
  • Having a competent physician review the defendant’s medical history
  • Deposing the defendant’s physicians
  • Requesting the defendant be examined by medical experts appointed by plaintiff’s attorney

Why You Should Consider Seeking Legal Help

These types of cases are extremely complex and stand the best chance for recovery if handled by an experienced personal injury lawyer.

At PKSD Law, we handle challenging personal injury cases every day. We have recovered millions in compensation for a wide variety of injured victims, and we have more than 150 years of collective experience.

Schedule your no-obligation, zero-cost consultation to learn more about how we may be able to provide legal assistance in your situation. There are no costs to pay up front, and you only pay our attorney fees if we first recover compensation for you.

Call PKSD Law. Free Consultation. We are here for you. 414-333-3333

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