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What is the Medical Emergency Defense?


When two or more cars collide, the fault is typically assigned to one or more of the drivers involved in the accident. However, sometimes determining fault is not easy, especially if one of the drivers uses the medical emergency defense.

What is the Medical Emergency Defense?

No one can plan when they experience a medical emergency, and unfortunately, sometimes these emergencies occur when people are driving. Drivers may be able to maintain control of the vehicle, pull over, and seek medical attention for minor issues, but sometimes this is not possible. In order to use the medical emergency defense, the driver must be able to prove:

  • She lost control of the vehicle right before the accident.
  • The loss of control caused the accident.
  • The loss of control was caused by an unexpected medical emergency.

Some examples of medical emergencies that could cause this to happen include heart attacks, strokes, diabetic episodes, or any other health condition that causes you to lose consciousness.

Are There Exceptions to the Medical Emergency Defense?

The emergency that caused the accident must have been unexpected. This means if you can prove that the driver was aware or should have been aware of her medical condition, she may not be able to use this defense. For example, a driver who has been warned not to drive by her doctor cannot use the medical emergency defense. In this case, the driver was negligent by getting behind the wheel despite her doctor's warnings. Therefore, she cannot escape liability by using the medical emergency defense. Another example would be a driver who has a medical emergency that was actually a bad reaction to prescription medication. If the medication comes with a warning label that states the driver should not operate a vehicle, she may not be able to use this defense.

How to Handle This Defense Strategy

If the defendant successfully uses this strategy, it's possible that you will be responsible for your own damages and you will not be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. That's why if you are involved in an accident where the other driver has used the medical emergency defense, it's important to contact an attorney right away. An attorney may be able to poke holes in the defendant's story to prove that she should have known about the medical condition that she claims was an unexpected emergency.

Car accident victims should seek legal representation from personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . Our team will fight tirelessly to prove liability and help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online formon our website to request a free consultation.

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