What Happens When a Medical Condition Causes a Car Accident?

February 7, 2023

There are a variety of types of medical conditions that could cause a car accident. However, if a medical condition does cause an accident, how does liability work? Is the person who had a medical condition responsible for the incident? Will any injury or property damage victim be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation?

These are important questions, especially if you or someone you know has been affected by an incident like this.

Types of Medical Conditions That Cause Accidents

Most people associate vehicle accidents with driver negligence. Perhaps they think of intoxication, distracted driving, speeding, or some other kind of traffic violation. However, there are times when accidents are caused by individuals suffering from a pre-existing, and often unknown, medical condition. Some of these conditions can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Seizure disorders
  • Narcolepsy
  • Eyesight issues
  • Cerebrovascular incidents

These types of medical conditions, and others, regularly lead to vehicle accidents. When a driver suffers from a sudden medical emergency, they are often not able to control their own actions, and they may have no idea that an accident has even occurred until after the fact.

Determining Liability After a Car Accident Caused by a Medical Condition

The driver who experienced a medical emergency and caused an accident may or may not be responsible for the incident. Liability will depend on whether or not the medical condition that caused the sudden emergency was foreseeable.

In most situations, we will find that an unforeseeable sudden medical emergency will likely mean that the driver who experienced the emergency will not be held responsible for the incident. In a sense, it would be hard to hold a driver responsible for an incident for something that was completely out of their control.

However, in the event the individual who has a sudden medical emergency knew that they had a medical condition that could impair their driving ability at some point, it is entirely possible that they will be held responsible for the incident. For example, suppose an individual has been declared blind or has extremely poor eyesight and has been told by medical professionals not to drive. In the type of situation, if the individual gets into an accident as a result of their poor eyesight, they will likely be held responsible for the incident.

Additionally, individuals who have uncontrollable blood sugar are usually aware that this will create a hazard on the roadway, particularly if their blood sugar drops too high or too low. Individuals with low blood sugar often present the same types of symptoms as those impaired by alcohol or drugs. If the driver’s low or high blood sugar is found to have been the cause of the medical emergency and the accident, and it can be shown that the driver knew that they posed a risk on the roadway, it is likely they will be held responsible for the incident.

Contact an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has been injured or sustained property damage in an accident caused by a medical emergency, we encourage you to reach out to an accident attorney in Martinsburg today. It can be confusing to understand who will hold liability in these incidents. An attorney will help determine whether or not this was an unforeseeable sudden medical emergency or if it was something that the driver knew could occur. The ultimate goal here is to ensure individuals recover compensation by holding the appropriate party responsible for their actions.


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