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What Is California Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

Under California law, a driver who causes an accident because they are experiencing a medical emergency can use a sudden medical emergency defense. It is also called the doctrine of imminent peril. It protects a defendant from the consequences of causing an accident. However, certain conditions must be met:

  • The defendant experienced a medical emergency.
  • It prevented them from controlling their car.
  • They had no prior knowledge that this could happen.

This defense can be used to dismiss the car accident lawsuit.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident by a driver claiming to have a sudden medical emergency, contact our team of personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles at Salamati Law for a free consultation.

Proving Sudden Medical Emergency Defense

Shards of car glass on the street after a car accident.

It is important to note that the burden is on the defendant to prove this. To be successful—they must show that:

  • The sudden illness was physical as opposed to psychological.
  • Further, they did not have prior knowledge of the potential for the onset of the illness, making it impossible for them to control the vehicle. For example, a driver has a heart attack while driving their car and loses control, resulting in a car accident. There could be other medical examples as well, like suffering a seizure or stroke while driving.

If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who is claiming this defense, then it is essential to work with an attorney who is experienced in reckless driving related lawsuits

Fighting Sudden Medical Emergency Defense

To counter this defense, there should be a focus on the defendant’s medical history. If, for example, they had a history of cardiac issues, it would demonstrate that the defendant knew they were at risk. Further, they should have taken steps to prevent an episode while behind the wheel. Finally, the fact pattern of the accident must be thoroughly studied to see if there were other contributing factors. For example, the defendant was not taking their prescribed medication and had a history of speeding tickets.

It is also important to remember that even if the defendant is successful in claiming this defense, it does not necessarily mean the end of your case. There is also the possibility that the physician who cleared them to drive could be held liable. Furthermore, there might have been other drivers who contributed to causing the accident who could be held responsible.

Contact our team of Los Angeles car accident lawyers

If you have been in a car accident with someone who is claiming a sudden medical emergency defense, reach out to our experienced team of Los Angeles car wreck lawyers at Salamati Law. We have successfully taken on complex, challenging personal injury cases with excellent outcomes. As a result, we have flourished as one of the most trusted firms in Los Angeles. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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