If you are driving your vehicle and begin to feel unwell, you may think that you’ll just drive a few more minutes to get home or to your destination and then pull over and park. If feeling unwell suddenly turns into passing out, having a seizure, a heart attack or another medical emergency, then you may not have control over what happens next.
Causing a collision due to a medical emergency is bad enough, but it is also likely that the other drivers involved will attempt to hold you liable. They may claim that you were being reckless or driving while under the influence, even though you know that the truth was that you had a sudden, unexpected medical emergency.
Will you be held liable for a crash if you were dealing with an emergency?
If you had a sudden medical emergency during a drive, the truth is that you may be able to successfully defend yourself by explaining this to the court. A person who suffers from a medical emergency isn’t acting negligently or intentionally reckless. Therefore, in many cases, you may not be held criminally liable for the collision.
However, it is possible that the other parties involved could pursue personal injury or wrongful death claims against you in civil court. Since your vehicle collided with theirs, they may pursue compensation through these means. The insurance company may or may not pay out, based on the policy and specific local laws. If you’re found not to be at fault due to your medical emergency, then you’ll have a stronger case against those claims as well.
How do you prove that you were not at fault for the crash?
It will be your responsibility to prove that you suddenly passed out, had a heart attack or were caught off-guard by another illness, which caused you to lose control of your vehicle. This also needs to have been an unforeseeable illness, so if you were driving to the hospital with signs of a heart attack, the prosecution may still try to hold you accountable.
This is a complex situation to be in. It’s worth defending yourself over, since there was an emergency that preceded it.