Are You Liable for an Accident if You Experienced a Sudden Medical Emergency?
A sudden and unexpected medical emergency is scary as it is, but when it happens while behind the wheel, it can be devastating. Nobody expects to be in this position until it happens, and it will leave you wondering how to navigate the damage it has caused to all parties involved. Luckily, in most states, you can make a sudden medical emergency claim so you’re not at fault for an accident that happened completely outside of your control, and it could deem you not liable, had the conditions around the accident been completely sudden and at random.
What’s the Difference Between a Sudden Medical Emergency and an Act of God?
Both of these types of claims are very similar, though not interchangeable. There is no sudden medical emergency defense in Missouri like there are in most states, but there is an Act of God defense, which addresses the same issue. If a driver’s negligence was caused by an Act of God (something beyond a human’s control), then the driver is not held liable if they “have exercised due care” prior to the accident.
Essentially, practicing due care while driving means to anticipate the consequences of an existing or foreseeable medical condition. This also applies to victims of natural disasters in court — a similar, naturally-occuring concept that should paint a better picture of the defense’s broader intentions.
Act of God Defense Does Not Hold if Accident was Caused by Your Own Negligence
It’s important to note that although the Act of God defense protects people who suffer sudden, unforeseen medical emergencies, it does not extend to people who experienced them due to their own negligence. For example, if someone is ordered by their doctor not to drive due to a disabling medical condition, then the Act of God defense will not work in their case, and they’ll be determined to be at fault for the accident.
What Medical Emergencies Could Qualify as an Act of God?
In the event of a genuinely unforeseen, sudden medical emergency, the defense would apply and deem you not liable for your accident. Sudden medical emergencies can include the following:
Again, you would not be held liable for as long as these medical emergencies were completely sudden or unforeseen. In the event where somebody has epilepsy and forgets to take their medication, or suffers from existing heart issues or is aware of their triggers for syncope, this would complicate the claim and you would likely be considered at fault for the accident.
Call Us for a Free Legal Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has suffered a sudden, unforeseen medical emergency while on the road leading to an accident, your attorneys at The Goss Law Firm will work tirelessly to ensure that your story is seen and heard. We will not stop until you are brought to justice. Do you have a case? Submit an inquiry form on our website for a free consultation of your case, or call us at 816-888-5000 — we are here to help.