Epilepsy and heart attacks are just a few of the serious medical conditions that can cause a driver to suddenly lose control of his or her car and crash – sometimes into another vehicle, causing additional injuries and damage. These events can leave victims with serious injuries, just as any other vehicle crash caused by negligence or recklessness. However, an injury victim may have additional difficulties in recovering full and fair compensation – doing so may require the assistance of a resourceful and thorough car crash lawyer.
Negligence May – or May Not – Include Driving with a Medical Condition
Liability for the injuries and losses of another after a car accident requires proof that the at-fault driver acted (at the very least) with carelessness or negligence. This means, for example, that the at-fault driver needs to have made a decision that a reasonable individual would not have made under the same or similar circumstances before he or she can be held responsible for the injuries that may result from a car crash. It is not always the case, however, that driving with a medical condition (or while taking prescription medication) is a careless act. Factors that will need to be examined by a knowledgeable car crash attorney include:
- Whether the at-fault driver has been diagnosed with a condition that makes it dangerous for him or her to drive: A driver who has no reason to know that he or she suffers from an epileptic condition or is susceptible to fainting (for example) would have no reason to think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car. Conversely, a driver who has suffered a number of seizures or who has fainted before would have more reason to be cautious about getting behind the wheel of a car.
- What the driver’s doctor has suggested the person not drive: It is usually reasonable for an individual to rely on the advice and suggestions of his or her doctor. If the driver at fault in a particular accident has been told by his or her doctor that he or she should not drive (or should only drive under certain conditions), this would suggest the driver’s decision to get behind the wheel was unreasonable (and, hence, negligent).
- How many times the driver has experienced medical distress while driving: Even in the absence of a diagnosis or instructions from his or her doctor, a driver who has fainted, experienced a seizure, suffered a heart attack, or experienced any other type of medical distress while driving – whether an accident resulted or not – should seriously consider whether it is safe for him or her to continue driving.
The presence of one or more of these factors may suggest that the driver’s decision to take to the road and drive was unreasonable and negligent, even if the driver did not expect or intend to suffer a medical emergency while driving.
When you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash where the at-fault driver suffered a medical emergency, contact Kansas Car Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless to determine what your next steps should be. Although it may be natural to feel compassion or sympathy for the at-fault driver given his or her medical conditions, the driver should be held to account for the harm he or she caused if he or she had reason to know driving could be dangerous. Call Michael R. Lawless at (800) 734-3771, and let us investigate the facts and circumstances of your case and take decisive action to protect your rights after a car crash.
A recent article in the Kansas City Star reported that over the New Year’s holiday weekend, an average of 31 individuals are killed across the nation each day of the holiday in drunk driving accidents. That means, within the span of approximately 48 hours, over 60 individuals lose their lives in collisions caused by intoxicated drivers – more than one per hour. While statistics and past experience might suggest that drunk driving in Kansas will continue through 2017, there is no reason this must be the case. Like other bad driving behaviors that can lead to traffic injuries and deaths, drinking and driving is a choice. This year can be safer for you – and your family – if you decide to practice safe behaviors such as:
- Wearing your seatbelt each and every time you travel. Statistics show that you are more likely to survive a serious traffic collision – and survive with fewer catastrophic injuries – if you wear a seatbelt. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that seat belts saved approximately 12,800 lives in 2014 alone and can reduce the chance of injury or death by approximately half. Not only should you wear a seatbelt, but you should encourage your passengers and your children to wear a seatbelt at all times as well.
- Do Not Drive While Drunk … or While Drowsy … or While Distracted. While attention is paid to drunk driving during the holidays, distracted driving and drowsy driving (that is, driving with too little sleep) are just as dangerous as consuming alcohol and/or drugs before driving. Besides refusing to drink or use drugs before driving, make sure you get enough sleep before driving (even for short trips) and put your cellphone away before embarking on your trip. In addition, avoid the temptation to eat while you are driving – foods such as tacos, pizza, soups, and other similar foods require a great deal of attention and focus to safely eat. Therefore, you should find a safe place to stop your car and consume your meal before continuing on your way.
- Drive defensively. Although it is tempting to violate traffic laws or drive in an aggressive manner to get to your destination faster, the few seconds or minutes you might save on your travel time are not worth the increased risk of a traffic collision that speeding, failing to give other vehicles a proper signal or space when passing, and/or deliberately or inadvertently violating traffic laws can create.
- Take action against other negligent or careless drivers. If you do happen to be involved in a car crash caused by another driver who is driving in a careless manner, take swift action to protect your rights by speaking with a Kansas car wreck attorney. The benefits you receive from an insurance claim settlement may not be sufficient to cover all of your losses and expenses, and there is no reason you ought to bear the financial burden of your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses when these are caused by another’s negligence.
While these behaviors may not completely insulate you from all traffic crashes, your risk of being involved in an injury collision or fatal accident decreases when you decide to drive safely. Michael R. Lawless is dedicated to helping Kansas drivers remain safe and recover compensation for their injuries when they are hurt in car crashes caused by other drivers’ unsafe driving behavior. Contact Kansas Personal Injury Lawyer Michael R. Lawless’s firm today by calling (800) 734-3771 to discuss your car accident and the rights you may be able to exercise.