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When a Car Crash is Caused by a Medical Condition

Being the victim in a car accident caused by a driver who suffers a medical episode behind the wheel adds layers of complexity to an already stressful situation. Unlike a typical crash, determining culpability and legal responsibility involves navigating a range of medico-legal issues.

If you find yourself impacted by this type of collision, contacting an attorney proves vital for securing fair compensation. An experienced vehicle accident lawyer can provide guidance by gathering medical evidence regarding the driver’s prior knowledge of their condition, communicating with insurance companies on your behalf, filing the necessary paperwork, and representing your best interests through legal proceedings if required. Having strong legal advice makes a tremendous difference when dealing with the intricacies these scenarios present.

Understanding Medical Condition Related Accidents

Car accidents caused by medical conditions statistics show that incidents in which a driver loses control due to health issues such as epilepsy, strokes, seizures, heart attacks, and hypoglycemia account for approximately 1.3 million crashes per year. The outcomes of these events range from relatively minor “fender benders” to more serious accidents involving injuries or fatalities. Overall, these crashes are responsible for about 2,400 deaths and 550,000 injuries annually.

The most common medical situations that lead to driving mishaps include:

  • Cardiovascular events (heart attacks or abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels in diabetics)
  • Strokes
  • Episodes of vertigo, fainting or loss of consciousness

In most circumstances, these occurrences arise suddenly and with little or no warning to the driver. As a result, an individual suffering from one of these conditions may lose control of their vehicle with no ability to prevent an ensuing collision.

Determining Legal Responsibility

Deciding legal responsibility in accidents stemming from medical situations depends heavily on two key factors:

  1. Whether the driver was previously aware of their condition.
  2. If they were aware, had they taken proper precautions to prevent driving when an episode was possible?

If the person was diagnosed and knew about their illness, the law generally views them as liable for any damages resulting from driving against medical advice. Failing to heed a doctor’s warnings to not operate a vehicle given a health concern demonstrates negligence. However, if they unexpectedly suffered a first-time seizure or fainting spell with no prior indications, it becomes harder to establish negligence or blameworthiness.

Proving Responsibility in Court

To find a driver culpable, a court case would require definitive evidence that they had forewarning about potential driving hazards tied to their sickness. This proof often comes from medical records indicating:

  • Previous episodes they experienced
  • A diagnosis by a healthcare professional
  • Warnings to not drive due to their condition

If such confirmation is lacking, it is nearly impossible to demonstrate irresponsibility. However, victims may still recover damages by filing a claim under their own policy’s “uninsured motorist” coverage. This avenue allows for compensation regardless of legal fault.

Taking Legal Action

If you are ever the victim in a crash caused by a medical issue, contacting a road accident attorney is advisable to understand your options. The law on accountability with these accidents is full of intricacies. The best car accident lawyer California can provide guidance through the claims process by:

  • Gathering evidence on the driver’s prior knowledge of their condition
  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Filing paperwork on your behalf
  • Representing you in court if a trial is necessary

Having professional legal advice can make an immense difference in attaining a favorable outcome.

Epilepsy and Seizures Behind the Wheel

Among medical conditions that contribute to vehicular crashes, seizures impact drivers more frequently than any illness except diabetes hypoglycemia. According to research, around 126,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy each year and 5% of them have a seizure while driving. Due to the abrupt loss of control these events cause, the collisions tend to be severe.

Combating this issue relies significantly on the integrity of individual patients. Ethics dictate informing one’s physician immediately about a seizure diagnosis. From there, most states have restrictions in place prohibiting operating vehicles for a designated time period after a seizure occurrence. Following doctor’s orders and obeying these laws demonstrates one is properly managing their illness. However, disregarding such directives rightfully calls a person’s judgment into question.

Heart Attacks and Cardiac Events

Cardiovascular disease represents another top medical cause of accidental accidents annually. Heart attacks or arrhythmias can lead to immediate incapacitation behind the wheel. Particularly among older drivers, who are involved in 7,500 fatal crashes per year.

In comparison to seizures, heart attacks often provide slightly more warning through symptoms like chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and pain extending to the arms or jaw. But without pulling off the road promptly when these signs arise, the end result may be just as catastrophic. As with seizures, past heart problems typically mean doctors recommend limiting or avoiding driving to prevent recurrences. Following this counsel proves vital for personal and public safety.

Diabetic Hypoglycemia

For those living with diabetes, one ever-present driving hazard comes in the form of hypoglycemic episodes or “low blood sugar events”. When glucose levels dip well below normal, it impairs functioning and alertness while also sometimes causing a loss of consciousness. Annually, many accidents stem from diabetic drivers experiencing a severe hypoglycemic spell behind the wheel.

While diabetics cannot eliminate the possibilities of low blood sugar crashes altogether, they can sharply reduce risks. This involves properly balancing medications, coordinating carb intake around driving schedules and tracking blood sugar before getting in a vehicle. Additionally, having quick-acting glucose tablets or drinks within reach provides a ready treatment for symptoms if they arise.

Being as proactive as possible about prevention allows most diabetics to safely operate cars without significant problems. But ignoring factors that increase dangers makes driving irresponsibly with this disease.

Coping with the aftermath of a car accident proves stressful no matter the situation. However, having the crash stem from an unforeseen medical complication adds additional layers of difficulty. The good news is that by contacting a California car accident lawyer for assistance, you can take necessary steps toward seeking reasonable compensation. An experienced California car accident attorney will know how to gather evidence needed to prove negligence, file insurance claims on your behalf and represent your best interest in legal proceedings. With professional guidance, you can achieve the fairest outcome possible in seeking damages against drivers who cause harm by ignoring known health risks behind the wheel. Contact Karns and Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today.

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