What Happens When a Driver Has Medical Emergency That Causes a Car Accident?

There are many people who deal daily with the devastating effects of chronic illnesses and diseases. Even if these do not affect someone’s ability to work or enjoy other activities, they can impact their driving skills. Driving with certain types of medical conditions or under the influence of medications can increase the risk of car accidents and injuries.

Medical Conditions that Can Impact Driving Abilities

Even a relatively minor health problem can endanger drivers, their passengers, and others on the road. The most common types of medical conditions which put motorists at risk include:

  • Vision problems: Hereditary issues and problems such as cataracts or macular degeneration can impair your vision to a degree that it is difficult to detect lane markings, traffic signals, and other drivers on the road. Even a bad case of night blindness can put you in danger of car accidents.
  • Seizure disorders: People with epilepsy or other neurological disorders which cause seizures to hit unexpectedly should approach driving with caution and may need to surrender their licenses until their condition is under control.
  • Dementia: Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia often begin slowly. One of the most common signs is when drivers forget where they are going or how to get home when on the road. As the condition becomes more severe car accident risks increase as well. In addition to underlying illnesses, general cognitive declines associated with the aging process can have a significant impact on driving ability.

Other medical issues which can impact driving ability include:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetic reaction
  • Heart issues
  • Reaction to a medication
  • Seizure
  • Stroke

Who Is Liable in a Crash?

Under Virginia tort law, a driver can only be held liable for an accident if the victim can show they acted in a negligent or reckless manner and that act caused the accident. For example, running a red light is considered negligent – even reckless – and so the driver would be liable in an accident. However, if a driver suffered a sudden medical emergency and crashed into another vehicle, the driver was not acting negligent or reckless in the eyes of the law because they had no control over the emergency.

However, there are exceptions to that rule. If the driver had been warned by their doctor not to drive because they had some kind of medical condition that posed a dangerous risk if they drove, then that is considered a negligent act and the driver would be liable for the victim’s losses.

The same rule applies to a driver who fails to follow medical treatment plans by their physician and that failure causes the medical emergency. This failure is considered negligence since that driver is putting anyone else on the road with them at risk.

Contact Our Office Today

While any car accident claim can be complex, a car accident that involves a driver who suffered a medical emergency can be especially complex, as the driver’s insurance company will likely do all it can to avoid any liability for the crash. This is one reason why victims should have a personal injury lawyer advocating for them.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of another party’s negligent or reckless actions while behind the wheel, contact a Virginia car accident attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Our personal injury law firm has been fighting to get accident victims the compensation they deserve for more than three decades. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you.