Medical Emergency Defense

Determining fault for a car accident is very important, especially when it comes to determining who is responsible for payment when damages are involved.

However, fault is not always clear, and a lot of grey area that can be involved. The medical emergency defense falls right in that grey area.

What Is a Medical Emergency Defense?

If you are in a car crash that resulted in damages and/or injuries, the other drivers involved might try to hold you liable. However, if you can prove that the cause of the accident was a sudden, unexpected medical emergency, you may be able to use a medical emergency defense and avoid having to pay reparations.

Laws and procedures regarding the medical emergency defense vary by state with some states not allowing the use of the defense at all.

Generally, in order to use a medical emergency defense, you must be able to prove all of the following:

  • You lost control right before the accident occurred.
  • Your loss of control caused the accident to happen.
  • You lost control because of an unpredictable medical emergency.

Qualifications for an Unexpected Medical Emergency

More often than not, an unexpected medical emergency will cause you to lose consciousness, or otherwise keep you from being able to physically control your car. Some examples of unforeseeable medical complications include:

  • Heart attacks.
  • Seizures.
  • Fainting.
  • Sudden drops in blood pressure.
  • Diabetic episodes.
  • Strokes.
  • Mental delusions.
  • Bad reactions to medication.

Exceptions to a Medical Emergency Defense Claim

Before you consider using a medical emergency defense, you must be positive that the event was unforeseeable. You may be disqualified from using the medial emergency defense if you:

  • Had previous knowledge of your medical condition.
  • Have been given instructions not to drive from your doctor.
  • Did not eat or drink enough throughout the day, which might cause a drop in blood pressure.
  • Have previous issues with your health relating to the incident.
  • Have received explicit warnings not to drive while using certain medications.

Essentially, you have to be able to prove that the accident was in no way caused by negligence on your part.

Responsibility for Medical Emergency Damages

Generally speaking, if you are involved in an accident where the medical emergency defense is successfully used (either by you or another driver), all parties involved will be responsible for their own damages.

Having solid insurance policies (auto, health, home) can be very beneficial, as they can help you pay for damages that result from a crash where the medical emergency defense applies.

What If the Other Driver Claims a Medical Emergency Defense?

If you are on the receiving end of a car crash where the other driver claims a medical emergency defense, consider taking these tips:

  • Think about hiring an attorney who can defend your rights.
  • Talk to your insurance company about the situation.
  • With your attorney's help, verify that the other driver's medical records can prove that their medical emergency was unforeseeable.
  • Know what qualifies as negligence in a medical emergency defense.