It’s a nightmare scenario: driving on the highway or a city street when you suddenly lose consciousness or suffer a heart attack. Obviously, it’s impossible to drive safely during a severe medical emergency, so the risk of getting into a car accident is high.
Something like this happened in Garfield, New Jersey, recently. An 88-year-old woman experienced a medical emergency while driving on the street. Her foot pushed down on the gas pedal and her car veered onto the sidewalk. It went under a train trestle and nearly hit a pedestrian before crashing into a light post, traffic lights and a flower pot.
Fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt, including the driver. But incidents like this raise an important legal question: Is it ever negligence when a driver causes a wreck and hurts somebody because they had a medical emergency behind the wheel?
Random emergency vs. neglecting medical advice
Negligence may be provable in certain circumstances. Most of the time, nobody can predict if they are going to pass out or become immobile. But with some chronic conditions, such as epilepsy, such incidents are reasonably predictable and the risk of a crash is relatively high. Also, many medications have side effects that make driving too dangerous. Driving despite knowing about these risks could be a form of negligence and make the driver responsible for any resulting car accident injuries.
Driver negligence can take many forms. Every case is unique, but an experienced personal injury attorney can analyze what happened to you and determine who was at fault.