There aren’t many ways that a negligent party who causes an accident and injuries can argue their way out of responsibility for damages. However, there are times when an accident is caused by a person who had no control over the situation. If a driver experiences an unforeseen crisis while they are operating their motor vehicle and this results in an accident, a “sudden medical emergency defense” may be a legitimate explanation. When this defense is used and proven, the driver who had a medical emergency and caused the crash will no longer be liable for damages.
Sudden Medical Emergency Defense in Illinois
The state of Illinois does recognize the sudden medical emergency defense. This defense has been used to protect an individual who suffers a random medical event behind the wheel from being charged with negligence for damages sustained in an accident. The liability is then removed from the driver because the event that occurred could not have been avoided by the driver. To prove a sudden medical emergency, it is on the shoulders of the driver to provide evidence supporting the defense. The following must be proven:
- There was an unexpected loss of consciousness before the accident took place
- The sudden loss of consciousness is what caused the accident
- The loss of consciousness from the medical emergency was unexpected and abrupt
It is not an easy task to prove a medical emergency occurred. It is imperative that the driver proves that the emergency was sudden, unexpected, out of their control, and they had no prior knowledge there was a medical issue at hand. It is extremely important to this defense that the driver proves the loss of consciousness was before the accident took place.
A person who has a medical illness or symptoms and is aware of them but ignores them and drives anyway will be disqualified for the sudden medical emergency defense. This is because the person was aware of their health issue and actively disregarded the risk to themselves and others on the road. They had an opportunity to control the situation but chose not to act responsibly. Because the symptoms were present while they were operating their automobile, repercussions from a medical event aren’t unexpected or sudden. If there is a history of health issues, such as heart problems like previous heart attacks, this too can void the sudden medical emergency defense.
How Does Illinois Handle a Sudden Medical Emergency Case?
If a medical emergency happens to you while you are driving, causing you to collide with another vehicle, and you can prove it is a sudden medical emergency, Illinois recognizes the defense. This may relieve you of your liability. If you cannot prove this defense, you will be responsible for the damages caused by the accident. It is the responsibility of the at-fault driver to pay for the damages caused by the accident.
Crashes will be fully investigated in Illinois to prove and identify the at-fault party. Not every accident is the same. Some accidents are clear in terms of fault, others are not. Accident events can take place with more than one party holding the blame. To recover damages, the plaintiff must be less than 50% responsible for the accident.
It is difficult for a victim of a traffic accident who has sustained injuries to also take on the legal battles required to obtain a full and fair settlement for their damages. The Roscoe automobile accident injury lawyers at the Alexander J. Smith Law Offices can provide you with the effective legal representation needed to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve after your accident.
Our team of Illinois personal injury attorneys will help you navigate the claims process and keep you informed of what is happening along the way. Call us today to set up a free consultation at (608) 237-7035 for residents of Wisconsin or (815) 243-9686 for residents of Illinois. One of our highly knowledgeable Wisconsin and Illinois motorcycle accident attorneys will give you the legal help and support you need.