If you pursue a claim for compensation for injuries following a motor vehicle accident, the negligent driver has the right to raise any defenses as to why he is not responsible for compensating you. A common defense the driver could raise is that you were partially or completely at fault for causing the wreck. A rarer defense—but one that is important to understand—that may be used to deny your claim is the sudden medical emergency defense.
What Must Be Proven to Establish the Medical Emergency Defense?
While most car accidents are caused by speeding, texting, not following traffic laws, or other driver error, in some cases, the crash will be the result of the driver’s medical condition. In rare cases, a driver may experience a sudden medical emergency, such as a stroke, seizure, or heart attack, without any prior notice. In order to establish the sudden medical emergency defense, the driver would need to prove the following:
- He suffered a physical incapacity.
- The physical incapacity was not foreseeable.
- The incapacity caused the driver to be unable to control his vehicle.
- The crash was in fact caused by the sudden physical incapacity.
How Can You Fight a Medical Emergency Defense?
If the negligent driver claims a medical emergency caused your crash, you should not take his statements at face value. Your first step should be to retain an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your accident and obtain the driver’s medical records. In many cases, the negligent driver had warnings of the medical condition but did not seek treatment or had contacted a doctor about it. You need an experienced lawyer who can review the medical records and hire any necessary experts to refute this defense.
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