Determining fault is rather straightforward in most car accidents. A driver may have been speeding and caused a crash. However, when a driver suffers a medical emergency before the accident, such as a heart attack, seizure or stroke, liability in these situations may not be so simple.
Our attorneys at Sigman Janssen discuss sudden medical emergencies in Wisconsin and how fault may be assigned. An initial consultation is free of charge to learn more about your potential legal options.
What Is the Emergency Doctrine and When Does It Apply?
Many states recognize the sudden medical emergency defense. In Wisconsin, the emergency doctrine can relieve a driver from liability when that driver is faced with a sudden medical emergency he or she did not create. For example, the emergency doctrine may apply if you are driving down the road and suddenly have a stroke that causes you to black out and results in you causing a serious car accident.
The reasoning behind this defense is that a person with a sudden unexpected medical emergency is not negligent and as such, cannot be held accountable for the accident. The medical emergency was beyond the driver’s control and was nothing that he or she could have foreseen (unless the driver knew or had forewarning about his or her condition and decided to ignore it).
Should a driver effectively utilize the emergency doctrine defense, he or she may be not financially liability for any injuries and damages they caused. An Appleton-based car accident lawyer from our firm is ready to offer legal assistance if you have been in a car accident and the other driver is trying to use this defense.
Establishing the Medical Emergency Was Sudden
For a medical emergency to be sudden, it must have overcome the driver and rendered him or her unable to avoid the accident.
If a driver experienced signs or symptoms indicative of a medical emergency, it is his or her responsibility to pull over to protect himself or herself and others from danger on the roadway.
However, if the driver decided to ignore his or her symptoms or failed to pull over and it results in a crash, the driver may be found at fault for any injuries and damages they caused.
Establishing If the Medical Condition Was Foreseeable
In determining if the accident was due to a sudden medical emergency, the driver’s medical records must be reviewed. For instance, say a driver suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness. Without a known history of heart problems or a prior heart attack, the driver had no reason to suspect one.
On the other hand, say a driver is diabetic and knows that he or she must regularly monitor his or her blood sugar. Regardless, the driver fails to check his or her blood sugar levels and passes out behind the wheel. The driver will not be able to use this defense since his or her medical condition was foreseeable.
Having an experienced lawyer by your side can be beneficial in these cases. He or she can help you obtain the other driver’s medical records, have the records reviewed by a qualified physician, depose the other driver’s treating doctors and have the other driver examined by a medical expert you choose.
Get Help You Need After a Car Accident
Have you been injured in a car accident with a driver who claims to have had a sudden medical emergency? If so, Sigman Janssen is here to help. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients and are prepared to investigate and gather the evidence needed to build a strong case for you.
Set up a free legal consultation to get started. There is no risk in calling us to learn more about your rights and no upfront fees to utilize our services. We only get paid if you do.
Millions Recovered for Car Accident Victims. Ph: (877) 888-5201