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Liability When Medical Issues Lead to Crashes

On January 19, police officers responded to a major truck accident that downed power lines and closed off Dale Mabry Highway in South Tampa for several hours. According to the police, a 60-year-old dump truck driver was traveling northbound at approximately 9:30 a.m. when he suffered a sudden medical emergency.

The truck drifted off the road, hit a cement light pole, a TECO pole, and continued moving toward the parking lot of a Verizon store before it angled across the Swann Avenue and Dale Mabry intersection. The dump truck continued rolling through the parking lot of a South Beach tanning salon, where it struck a parked car before finally stopping on Swann Avenue. The driver was unconscious when the police found him inside the truck. He was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital.

All Floridian motorists owe a legal duty of care to those they share the road with and must take reasonable measures to prevent causing harm to other road users. But what if a driver suddenly suffers a medical emergency that makes them incapable of safely driving their vehicle? Can an injured victim still recover compensation from the insurance policy of the driver that suffered a medical emergency and caused the motor vehicle crash?

Medical Emergency as a Defense in Personal Injury Claims

Generally speaking, if the driver was incapacitated by an unexpected and sudden medical emergency, they are not expected to have the capacity to respond reasonably to prevent an accident. This means that they can’t be held legally responsible for the injuries and damages you suffered in the crash. The following are common medical emergencies capable of incapacitating a driver:

  • Heart attack
  • Seizure
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Choking
  • Stroke

But the at-fault driver that’s claiming they suffered a sudden medical emergency must prove that they indeed suffered one at the time of the accident. Consequently, you must also establish fault and liability to strengthen your claim and prove your damages.

Evidence That Can Help Establish Fault and Liability

To determine fault and liability, your Tampa personal injury lawyer must verify whether the claim of the at-fault driver is legitimate by:

  • Checking the driver’s medical records to determine if they had pre-existing medical issues, like a heart condition or epilepsy, and whether the condition was being treated properly.
  • Determining whether the driver was following their doctor’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Checking whether the driver was restricted from driving due to their condition but still chose to drive.

Likewise, keep in mind that even if the driver suffered a valid medical emergency, the accident might still be deemed foreseeable, hence, preventable. For instance, if the driver didn’t pull over when they were already having chest pains, you may still hold them liable for the accident.

Get in Touch With Our Skilled Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers Now

The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos have extensive experience helping victims who have suffered injuries in motor vehicle crashes. We know how to deal with insurance companies, and we’ll do our best to secure maximum compensation for all your accident-associated damages. Call 727-441-9030 or fill out our online form to set up your free case evaluation.