What if My Medical Emergency Caused My Car Accident?

Posted on: January 10, 2024

Medical emergencies like heart attacks and seizures become even more traumatic when they lead to a car accident. The immediate priority is emergency medical assistance, and when the situation can be controlled, these drivers can recover. If your medical emergency caused a car accident and injury, the legal implications can be complicated.

New Jersey allows drivers to invoke the Sudden Emergency Doctrine (SED) to challenge liability, depending on the circumstances. Under the SED, drivers who experience medical emergencies may not be at fault for the accident and may not be responsible for paying damages to other parties.

Every driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving, including controlling their vehicle. The requirements for this defense vary by state. If you want to claim that you had no control over the emergency, you will need to prove the following:

  • The medical emergency was unforeseeable and sudden.
  • You suddenly became incapacitated.
  • The medical emergency caused you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • You responded to your medical emergency the same way a reasonable person would have under the circumstances.

What Does Unforeseeable Mean?

The word “unforeseeable” determines if an allegedly liable party could have reasonably anticipated that their actions could have caused another party’s injuries. If the harm caused is unrelated to negligence, the defendant might not be held liable.

Since that concept is key to the SED, the other side will want to see documentation pertaining to your medical history. Your health history could affect your liability if you failed to follow your physician’s instructions, did not take your meds as prescribed, or drove against your doctor’s orders.

Am I Responsible for Damages if I Had a Medical Emergency?

At-fault drivers who cause car accidents typically pay for the costs, including injuries, lost income, and vehicle damage. If the SED defense succeeds, the injured parties will use their own insurance to cover their financial losses.

A Highland Park Car Accident Lawyer at Mikita & Roccanova Can Help if a Medical Emergency Caused Your Accident Injury

SED cases are complex. For legal help after a crash caused by a medical emergency, contact a Highland Park car accident lawyer at Mikita & Roccanova. Call us at 732-705-3363 or complete our online form for a free consultation and to learn more. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly assist clients in Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and across Pennsylvania.