Certain medical conditions can make driving dangerous. For example, patients who have epilepsy may have a seizure while behind the wheel and could cause a collision as a result. In other situations, an unexpected medical problem could develop with no warning, like if a driver has a heart attack.
When a person suffers a medical event when driving and causes a collision, it is important to determine who is to blame.If a driver was aware of the risk he presented due to a health condition and opted to drive anyway, victims could file a civil lawsuit to obtain compensation from the driver, even if the crash was actually caused by a medical episode. Determining whether you have a case or not is complicated, but an Atlanta car accident lawyer can assist you in evaluating the facts of your collision so you can understand your rights.
Atlanta Car Accident Injuries and Crashes Caused by Medical Events
Recently, ABC News reported on one tragic case involving a driver with a history of crashes related to a medical condition that caused him to experience seizures. The driver’s license has been suspended at least six times since 2002, and after he caused a crash in 2013, he was required to submit letters from a doctor certifying his ability to drive. His medical condition was described as “on-going” and the letters from a doctor need to be submitted annually in order for him to keep his license.
Unfortunately, this past June, he felt a seizure coming on but he chose to get into the car anyway. He suffered a seizure on his way to the grocery store and caused a car accident that killed two young children. He faced criminal misdemeanor charges for his recklessness, but the charges were dropped after he settled his case with the family of the children who were killed.
This case was an unusual one because it was clear the driver not only knew of his medical condition and the dangers it presented, but also because the driver admitted to feeling that a seizure was coming in before he got into the car. It is not difficult to argue that a driver who knows he is going to have a medical episode is negligent in getting into the car.
While the seizure was not his fault, the negligence came earlier- with his decision to drive- and it is this act of negligence which can be considered a breached legal duty entitling victims and their surviving family members to damages.
Many cases in which medical episodes occur are far less clear-cut than this one. If a driver has a medical episode but doesn’t admit to anticipating the episode and/or doesn’t have a long history of similar problems, a victim of a crash could face a greater challenge in proving negligence. To recover compensation for crash losses, the victim would need to show a reasonable person wouldn’t have driven under the circumstances and will need to show foreseeable harm occurred as a direct result of the driver’s making an unsafe choice to get behind the wheel.
An experienced attorney can provide help in conducting an investigation, subpoenaing medical records, and otherwise gathering appropriate proof to show a driver who had a medical episode was aware of the risks and chose to drive anyway, even though he shouldn’t have.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a collision. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.