Under certain conditions, when a driver experiences a sudden medical emergency that results in a car crash, that driver will be excused from liability for any damages or losses sustained by others. The excuse from liability is not automatic, however, and the driver seeking to use a medical emergency defense has the burden of proving the emergency was the predominant cause of the accident.
The car accident lawyers in the Los Angeles offices of Salamati Law have represented injured victims in Southern California for more than 25 years. We are sympathetic to the prospect of a sudden medical emergency that might cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, but understand that some negligent drivers might attempt to excuse their carelessness with reliance on the sudden medical emergency defense. In these latter instances, we fight to hold a negligent driver and his or her insurance carriers fully liable for an accident victim’s losses and injuries.
How does California apply the sudden medical emergency defense in car accident lawsuits?
A driver who seeks to use a medical emergency defense as an excuse for liability in a car accident lawsuit must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she:
- Experienced a sudden and unanticipated physical ailment (i.e., not a mental or psychological condition)
- The driver had no prior knowledge or diagnosis of the emergency condition
- The sudden condition precluded the driver from safely controlling the car
How can an injury victim collect damages if a negligent driver uses a sudden medical emergency defense?
When a negligent driver raises a sudden medical emergency defense, that driver necessarily opens his or her medical records for inspection by the plaintiff’s attorney, who will analyze those records to verify that they include no reference to the condition that led to the accident. Any prior reference in the driver’s medical records will suggest that the driver was at least partly responsible for the crash by operating a vehicle with some knowledge of the potentially dangerous condition.
The same holds for other defenses that are recognized by California courts. For example, a negligent driver might argue that an accident victim caused his or her own injuries by not wearing a seat belt or wearing the belt improperly. In those circumstances, a Los Angeles seat belt defense attorney will interview witnesses, review police reports, and analyze all other available evidence to rebut the negligent driver’s contentions.
Call Salamati Law in California
The car accident lawyers at Salamati Law have successfully challenged attempts by negligent drivers to rely on a sudden medical emergency defense to excuse them for liability for an accident victim’s losses and injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a Southern California car accident and the at-fault driver is attempting to evade responsibility with this or any other defense, call our Los Angeles offices for a complimentary consultation. We are ready to fight tirelessly to help you punch holes in the defendant’s story and recover the largest available compensation you are entitled to receive.