A car accident can occur when another driver suffers a medical emergency behind the wheel. In these cases, do you have the right to pursue damages by filing a lawsuit? Even when it is clear that the other driver was at fault, does the fact that they suffered a medical emergency make them immune to liability?
Every case is different, and the facts of what occurred must be uncovered. Speaking with a Boulder car accident attorney is your best move.
Was the Crash Caused by a Sudden Medical Emergency?
In some cases, the driver who caused the accident lost consciousness. The critical questions are why and how. If the person suspected he was suffering a medical emergency and continued to drive, rather than pulling over, he should be held liable, as he knew something was wrong. Other issues come into play, such as whether the driver was aware of a dangerous medical condition that could impact the ability to drive, such as diabetes or epilepsy or another disease that causes blackouts. In these cases, it is often possible to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
All drivers have a duty of care – they must operate vehicles in a manner that will not put others in danger. The duty includes the usual safe driving behaviors, such as driving at the speed limit, never driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and not driving recklessly. In case of a medical emergency, a lawsuit can be filed if the driver breached his duty of care by operating a vehicle when he was aware it could pose a risk to others.
How the Facts Are Established
If an accident caused by another driver left you with serious or life-threatening injuries, and the responsible driver had a medical emergency, an investigation must take place. A doctor may have advised the person that driving was unsafe – if so, this information could be critical to the success of a lawsuit.
Sometimes, defense attorneys try to prove that the at-fault driver was unconscious, but the loss of consciousness may have occurred after the impact. A full medical evaluation may be a vital part of the case. If that driver was elderly, had caused other crashes, had a medical condition that made driving unsafe, or hit the gas rather than the brake (it happens!), it is up to your lawyer to present compelling facts and a persuasive argument to the jury.
Colorado Law and Accidents Caused by Medical Emergencies
In Colorado, the “sudden emergency” doctrine was abolished in 2013. The Colorado Supreme Court determined that this doctrine made it possible for insurance companies to help their clients avoid liability. These cases are adjudicated on the basis of comparative negligence – just like all other auto accidents. While there are undoubtedly legitimate cases of drivers suffering sudden medical emergencies, insurance companies took far too much advantage of this legal doctrine.
Were You Injured by Another Driver Who Had a Medical Emergency?
If you were in an auto accident caused by another person who lost consciousness, had a stroke, suffered from epilepsy, or another medical condition, it is essential that you have your case evaluated by a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney. Every case has unique facts, and the ability to recover full compensation is vital to your future physical and financial health. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we offer legal counsel in car accident cases in Boulder and provide a free case consultation – call (303) 665-2929 to get started. We have offices in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.
Our legal skill, along with our extensive understanding of personal injury law, has led to a reputation for excellence in very difficult cases. Our services are on a contingency fee basis – you owe no fees unless we win. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation in challenging cases and can advise you on how to move forward with legal action against a negligent driver.