The process of finding fault in a motor vehicle accident typically entails proving that another driver acted with negligence which then resulted in a collision. However, finding liability and collecting compensation can be much more complicated when the other driver experiences a medical emergency.
Remember that Florida is one of about a dozen states that operate within the “no-fault” car insurance system, which means that drivers injured in a car accident will recover damages through their own personal injury protection policy. The no-fault system does not apply to vehicle damage claims, meaning a driver can file a liability claim against the at-fault driver.
The system also has limited applications for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, and a driver must meet specific criteria to be eligible. In order to receive additional compensation, a driver must have sustained severe injuries as determined by a certain state-established threshold:
- Significant and/or permanent loss of bodily function.
- Significant and/or permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Sudden Medical Emergency Defense
At-fault drivers may be relieved from liability and from having to pay additional compensation should it be discovered that they experienced a “sudden medical emergency.” The reasoning behind this is that a driver cannot be held responsible for an accident that happened due to something unexpected and beyond their control. Drivers who claim the sudden medical emergency defense generally have to prove that:
- Sudden loss of consciousness occurred before the accident.
- Sudden loss of consciousness caused the accident.
- The risk of losing consciousness was not known previously.
For instance, a driver may successfully claim the sudden medical emergency defense if they had no prior history of losing consciousness or known illnesses that could cause them to lose consciousness. A driver seeking additional compensation, in this case, would have little to no source of financial recovery other than their own insurance policy.
A driver may unsuccessfully claim the sudden medical emergency defense if they had a known history of illness that could cause the loss of consciousness and been told by a physician not to drive or had done nothing to anticipate possibly losing consciousness. An example could be a diabetic person failing to eat all day and passing out due to low blood sugar. In these cases, the driver that experiences the medical emergency can still be found negligent and liable to pay for additional damages.
Your Clearwater Car Accident Attorney
Dealing with the aftermath of an injury can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to worry about your physical health, but also your legal rights and how you are going to pay for medical bills and other expenses. For more than 15 years, Idrizi Law Group has been dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible outcomes you deserve.
If you or someone you know has sustained an injury in a car accident and are seeking compensation, call us today at (727) 202-5499 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.