Accidents can sometimes happen without any driver being negligent. This may happen, for example, when a driver is driving along and experiences a medical emergency that causes the driver to swerve and cause an accident with another driver. If the driver swerves and causes an accident in which others are severely injured, it may be difficult for the injured person to receive compensation from the at-fault driver.
The emergency doctrine applies when a driver is faced with a sudden emergency and acts according to his or her best judgement, or in a manner showing good judgement if he or she has no time to form his or her best judgement. The emergency doctrine covers various emergency situations that drivers may encounter, including medical emergencies.
Drivers who experience medical emergencies can use this as a defense to a personal injury claim for compensation. However, the medical emergency has to be unexpected, and the driver’s actions cannot be excused if he or she contributed to the accident. For example, if a driver suffers an epileptic seizure while driving and causes an accident, he or she may use the seizure as a defense. However, if the driver was previously diagnosed with epilepsy and prescribed medication, which he or she failed to take, then the driver will not likely be excused for his or her role in causing the accident.
Additionally, even if a driver can prove that a disease caused him or her to have an accident, the driver has to prove that it was the accident alone, and not anything else the driver did that caused the accident. In this way, an illness is not always a reason to excuse a driver from negligence. If the driver was speeding and driving recklessly when he or she suffered a sudden and unexpected seizure, he or she can still be found liable for any resulting accident.
Drivers who are on medication to treat any kind of illness, or who take over the counter medication should always ensure that the medication will not make them drowsy and has no other side effects that could affect their ability to drive safely. If this is not possible, the drivers should make the choice not to drive and look for other means of transportation. If the driver decides that the side effects are not that severe and decide to drive, he or she may not only harm him or herself or others, the driver could also be charged with a crime. A criminal conviction could be used against the negligent driver in a civil trial filed by a person who gets injured in the accident.
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Defenses that can be used in negligence cases may prolong or even lead to the dismissal of what seems like a straightforward car accident case. This could leave the injured person confused about where to seek full compensation for injuries and losses. An experienced car accident attorney can help you find any weaknesses in the other driver’s defenses, and advise you on how else to seek compensation. If you suffered injuries following a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today.