Recently, a driver who reportedly experienced a “sudden medical emergency” jumped the curb and hit 2 people on the sidewalk of the Burnside Bridge in Portland. One of the pedestrians was fatally injured.
In May, a Vancouver man died after suffering from a medical emergency and crashing on I-205.
In April, a 61-year-old semi-truck driver who “may have suffered a medical emergency”, veered off the road and caused a rollover crash.
Last year, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of an 11-year-old Aloha girl who was hit and killed by a Toyota when a diabetic driver blacked out behind the wheel.
A medical emergency behind the wheel
This is called a “sudden medical emergency defense.” A driver of an automobile causes a crash and blames it on a medical event. Then, the insurance company claims they don’t have to pay damages, because their driver isn’t responsible for the accident.
Negligent driver and medical conditions
The law sets a standard for reasonable behavior: what would the average careful, practical person do in the same circumstances?
A person can be considered “negligent” – and responsible for the damages in a personal injury lawsuit – if their actions don’t meet that standard.
There are serious risks associated with driving a car for people who have certain medical conditions. An epileptic may have a seizure, a diabetic may have a sudden drop in blood sugar: these events can be predictable, and often are preventable.
Drivers have a duty to assess their health before getting behind the wheel of a car, and potentially endangering other people. Don’t let them deny responsibility for their own actions. When the defense is raised of a sudden medical emergency, thorough investigation should be done by police and/or medical doctors.
Comments Off on Is a driver responsible when a “sudden medical emergency” causes a car crash?