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Sudden Medical Emergency

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Sudden Medical Emergency

Brien Roche

The defense of sudden medical emergency arises where a medical condition has caused a driver to lose control of an auto.  If this causes injury to another that does not mean that the driver is free of fault.

Burden of Proof For Sudden Medical Emergency

The driver with the sudden medical emergency must prove:

  • physical incapacity
  • that was not reasonably foreseeable
  • it rendered the driver unable to control the auto
  • the resulting collision was caused by the medical condition

The driver’s self-serving statement that she suddenly blacked out needs to be supported. That support comes through medical proof in most cases. The sudden medical emergency is not always a cause but can be the result of the crash.  That is, the heart attack did not cause the person to blackout. Rather the crash caused the heart attack.  This must be fully explored.

Reported Cases

In one reported case from the Virginia Supreme Court the defendant claimed that he had blacked out due to diabetes.  The court held that he did not have “the burden of proof” as to proving the defense. Rather he had the burden of producing enough evidence to explain that the crash was due to something other than his own fault. That burden is “the burden of going forward”.  That means he has to produce some credible evidence of a sudden medical emergency.

In another reported case a defendant’s vehicle hydroplaned on water during a rainstorm.  Although this did not involve a sudden medical emergency, it did involve simply a sudden emergency. The court held that this condition was not enough to prove the defense of sudden emergency. The emergency must be sudden, unexpected, unforeseen and call for immediate action. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Fault of the Doctor

Another angle that needs to be looked at is the fault of the driver’s doctor.  She may be liable if she knew the patient had a condition that would cause loss of control. In that case the doctor should impose limits on the patient. Or the doctor should take reasonable steps to deal with the condition if the person is to continue driving.  The fault of the doctor hinges on the foreseeability of injury to third parties. If the doctor knew or should have known that the patient was impaired and would be driving he must take action. Failure to do so may be fault on the part of the doctor.

If you have been injured by a person who asserts a sudden medial emergency defense contact us.

Also see sudden emergency for a review of Virginia case law on this topic. In addition see the pages on Wikipedia for information on traffic collisions.

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Sudden Medical Emergency

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Sudden Medical Emergency

Brien Roche

The defense of sudden medical emergency arises where a medical condition has caused a driver to lose control of an auto.  If this causes injury to another that does not mean that the driver is free of fault.

Burden of Proof For Sudden Medical Emergency

The driver with the sudden medical emergency must prove:

  • physical incapacity
  • that was not reasonably foreseeable
  • it rendered the driver unable to control the auto
  • the resulting collision was caused by the medical condition

The driver’s self-serving statement that she suddenly blacked out needs to be supported. That support comes through medical proof in most cases. The sudden medical emergency is not always a cause but can be the result of the crash.  That is, the heart attack did not cause the person to blackout. Rather the crash caused the heart attack.  This must be fully explored.

Reported Cases

In one reported case from the Virginia Supreme Court the defendant claimed that he had blacked out due to diabetes.  The court held that he did not have “the burden of proof” as to proving the defense. Rather he had the burden of producing enough evidence to explain that the crash was due to something other than his own fault. That burden is “the burden of going forward”.  That means he has to produce some credible evidence of a sudden medical emergency.

In another reported case a defendant’s vehicle hydroplaned on water during a rainstorm.  Although this did not involve a sudden medical emergency, it did involve simply a sudden emergency. The court held that this condition was not enough to prove the defense of sudden emergency. The emergency must be sudden, unexpected, unforeseen and call for immediate action. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Fault of the Doctor

Another angle that needs to be looked at is the fault of the driver’s doctor.  She may be liable if she knew the patient had a condition that would cause loss of control. In that case the doctor should impose limits on the patient. Or the doctor should take reasonable steps to deal with the condition if the person is to continue driving.  The fault of the doctor hinges on the foreseeability of injury to third parties. If the doctor knew or should have known that the patient was impaired and would be driving he must take action. Failure to do so may be fault on the part of the doctor.

If you have been injured by a person who asserts a sudden medial emergency defense contact us.

Also see sudden emergency for a review of Virginia case law on this topic. In addition see the pages on Wikipedia for information on traffic collisions.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation