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Sudden Medical Emergencies (While Driving)

A Guttlaw ReportTM

If someone has a heart attack or another sudden medical emergency while driving, loses control of the car and injures you, can they be liable?

Amazingly, twice in recent years, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that when a sudden medical emergency occurs and an innocent third party is injured, the driver causing the harm cannot be held responsible if he or she suffered a "sudden medical emergency." As between the two parties, the Court has chosen to penalize the innocent bystander.

What must a driver who has lost control prove to avoid responsibility for the harm they have caused?

They have to prove loss of consciousness or that they were struck by some other medical condition which made it impossible to control their car and that they had no prior notice/experience that would have warned them of this possibility. For example, a driver who has had recent problems with fainting spells or a recent seizure might be held liable even though there was a sudden medical emergency. They had reason to know that they might have a seizure and therefore should not drive. However, if the driver hadn't had a seizure in 10 years, and had no reason to believe that they would have another, then the case would be more in question. Liability will depend on whether the driver knew or should have known that she had an illness or infirmity which might cause a sudden medical emergency and therefore make getting behind the wheel a dangerous act.

Our investigators can often figure out what happened during an accident and prove whether or not the other driver had a sudden medical emergency, using his car's own computer.

Newer cars (within the last 10 years or so) have black boxes that a competent engineer can use to extract evidence of when the driver braked, accelerated and so on. In fact, everything the vehicle did in the five seconds preceding impact is recorded. What the vehicle did may help prove whether the person became unconscious before, during or after the accident, and help us prove your case.

If you've been hurt by a driver who claims that his or her medical condition was at fault, you need a law firm like Rubin Guttman & Associates to protect your rights. We'll help find the truth using the latest investigative techniques to prove your case, even when the proof is in the other driver's car!

Proving your case is the job of an experienced law firm like Rubin Guttman & Associates, L.P.A. We have been representing injured people hurt by medical malpractice or serious accidents for 32 years and would welcome the opportunity to have you consult with us. (For a free consultation and review of your case, please feel free to call us at (216) 696-4006).

Client Reviews
Without question, the attorneys at Rubin Guttman & Associates, L.P.A. did an exemplary job in settling my claim with the manufacturer of the prescription medication that led to my bladder cancer. It was clearly a long-shot that unexpectedly came through with a surprisingly large settlement. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal services. William H.
I have had occasion to use Rubin Guttman and his firm numerous times over the last 25+ years. In every encounter I have been represented with outstanding professionalism, experience and quality. Rubin and his staff kept me informed of every step that was taken on my behalf. I always felt confident that my best interests were most important. It always helps to hire the best. Richard H. Devaney
I had occasion to use Rubin Guttman's services, in connection with obtaining coverage from a well-known life insurance company, that ended with a completely satisfactory outcome for me. I cannot rave enough about the professionalism and quality of the service which I received from Rubin. They were as good or better as any of the major law firms NITA whom I have had previous experience. Jerry Rothchild