My Car Accident Was Caused Due to the Negligent Driver’s Medical Condition; Can I Still Sue?

A picture of a car accident with the words, "can I sue if my accident was caused by a medical condition?"

When the term car accident comes up, many different scenarios often play through someone’s mind: A driver was speeding home in the rain and lost control of their car. A teenage driver was texting their friends and failed to notice that the car in front of them had stopped. Then there are also the cases where an individual tried to beat a red light and ended up in a t-bone collision.

Regardless of what one generally thinks of when they hear the word car accident, the blame is often placed on the actions or inactions of the negligent driver. However, some accidents happen due to freak medical disasters, such as a driver having a heart attack or a stroke.

When an accident is caused due to a medical condition, the damage occurs on a multitude of levels. Not only is the injured party dealing with the medical expenses and a painful recovery, but the driver of the car that caused the wreck is already in a serious health emergency. Every moment after this accident matters and the injured party may find it difficult to know where to turn to collect compensation for damages and medical expenses.

The team of car accident attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. understands the difficulty in trying to figure out the next steps in this delicate situation. However, we also understand the reality that sometimes, individuals will lie about a medical condition to try and avoid taking responsibility for their accident. Regardless of whether a medical condition truly did cause the accident, we believe strongly in your right to get the compensation you deserve. In this article, we will be going over how to navigate a car accident case when potential medical conditions are involved.

Understanding the Sudden Emergency Doctrine in Texas

front end car wreck damage

In a court of law, the defense has the option to use the Sudden Emergency Doctrine as a defense against the victim’s allegation of the defendant being responsible for the accident. The at-fault party may try to reduce their liability by arguing that there was a sudden emergency that caused the defendant’s actions or inactions. 

For example, the at-fault driver suddenly swerved into the lane next to them and caused a major accident. Their attorney argues that it was an undiagnosed medical condition that suddenly caused the driver to lose consciousness and swerve. This kind of scenario would fall under the sudden emergency doctrine. 

This argument is one of the most often used defenses in car accident lawsuits in the State of Texas. Sudden emergencies cause the driver to make split-second decisions, or prevent them from making any decisions at all, such as suddenly losing consciousness. In these arguments, the emergency is what contributed to the accident, not the decisions or behavior of the negligent driver. The actual details of the sudden emergency and the driver’s response to the emergency and the reasonableness of this response, will ultimately decide how much fault the negligent driver had.

What Kinds of Medical Conditions Lead to Car Accidents?

While it is often not thought of, medical conditions occurring at the time of an accident are unfortunately common. Medical conditions that often result in a car accident include the following:

  • Heart Attack
  • Panic Attack
  • Asthma Attack
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Undiagnosed Narcolepsy

What Does the Defense Have to Prove for Their Argument to Stand

A gavel on a legal book and a desk.

When it comes to the sudden emergency defense, the defendant has to show that any other reasonable person would have reacted in the same way as they did when faced with the same emergency. If they can prove this, they may not be legally responsible for or may be able to reduce the number of damages that are owed to the victim. 

For this defense to stand, the defendant’s attorney has to show evidence supporting the following:

  • There was an emergency that arose in the defendant’s life, at the time of the accident.
  • The emergency or situation could not be foreseen by the defendant and nor was it their fault.
  • The emergency caused the defendant and would cause any reasonable person, to act immediately and without time for deliberation of their actions or the consequences.
  • The defendant acted in a way that any other prudent individual would have in the same situation.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help My Case?

When it comes to car accidents and blaming medical conditions for the accidents, there is a silver lining for the injured party. Unless the situation truly was a random emergency, such as a heart attack, that resulted in the accident, most other medical conditions have warning signs.

For example, individuals with asthma often know the feeling of an asthma attack coming on. The tight chest, panicky feeling, and struggle to breathe often happen way before the full-blown attack. These individuals also often have an emergency inhaler with them in cases where an asthma attack does happen. If the negligent driver is trying to blame the accident on an asthma attack or other medical condition that they knew they had, then the question arises of why they decided to drive while feeling under the weather in the first place. Questions like this with no clear answer but evidence to show that better actions could have been taken to protect themselves and other drivers on the road can help pick out those who are trying to get out of the blame and those who are being sincere.

It Is Also Important to Note That You Are Often Suing the Insurance Company, Not the Driver

A woman is holding her neck after a car accident.

Understandably, some individuals may feel guilty for trying to pursue a case to claim the compensation they deserve from a driver who truly did suffer a medical emergency. After all, in these cases, the defendant truly wasn’t at fault for the resulting accident. 

Most of the time, bringing the other driver to court does not mean that you are suing that driver directly but instead are going after their insurance company. When the initial attempt to file a claim with the insurance company goes through, that insurance company may want to settle for far less than you are owed. By bringing the negligent driver to court, you are ensuring that their insurance company is going to give you the compensation you deserve to cover medical damages and expenses. 

The Team At Branch & Dhillon, P.C. Can Help

If you need a knowledgeable car accident attorney on your side to help you navigate through the legal system to claim the compensation you deserve in Arlington, Texas, the team at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. is just a phone call away. We have helped countless individuals in Arlington and the surrounding areas claim the compensation they deserve.

We do not let insurance companies bully our clients into accepting less than they deserve, and we fight to ensure that you are properly represented. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.