Most car accidents in Waco and Austin occur due to driver error, such as distracted driving or speeding. But every once in a while, a car crash is caused by an unforeseeable – and perhaps unpreventable – medical condition, such as a heart attack, seizure, or loss of consciousness for another medical reason.
If your auto accident was caused by your medical condition, you may have questions about whether you will be considered at fault. The answers will depend on the circumstances of your case.
The ‘Sudden Emergency’ Legal Doctrine
Most courts recognize a legal doctrine referred to as the “sudden emergency and unavoidable accident.” In Texas, the sudden emergency legal doctrine holds that if conditions beyond the party’s control caused the accident, the party need not be found at fault.
In order for the doctrine to be upheld, the party must prove that:
- An “emergency” situation occurred suddenly and without warning.
- The emergency situation was not a result of the person’s own negligence or willful act.
- After the emergency situation occurred, the person acted in a manner consistent with the way a reasonable person in the same situation would act.
The last point is important. If negligence occurred after the emergency situation, the affected person may still be held partially liable for any damages.
How Do I Prove Sudden Emergency?
Certain medical events would fall into the category of a sudden emergency. For example, having a heart attack or losing consciousness are both sudden and unexpected, and they are (usually) not a result of a person’s own negligence.
In order to prove that your medical condition was the cause of the accident, you will likely need to collect evidence from witnesses, as well as medical experts. You may need to present evidence of your health records to prove that you could not have known of the emergency situation and were therefore not driving negligently.
In some cases, driving with a medical condition may be considered an act of negligence and may not protect you from liability. For example, if you suffer from epilepsy, are aware of your condition, and choose to drive with this knowledge, then it may be harder to prove a lack of negligence.
Let an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney Help
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, we know how scary a medical emergency can be. When that medical emergency causes a car accident, things can become even more terrifying. If you have questions about liability, collecting damages, or dealing with your insurance company after a crash that was due to your medical condition, our Austin auto accident attorneys can help.
To schedule your free case consultation, call our offices today or use our online form to tell us more about your case.