ABC 7 Eyewitness News reports that January 28’s fatal nine-car crash in the South Loop began because a man suffered a medical emergency while driving. The 56-year-old driver of the vehicle survived the crash, but a 35-year-old man was killed in the wreck. Six other people were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The man, driving a white Mercedes sedan, reportedly had a medical emergency while traveling on I-290 and lost control of his car, hitting the back of a Cadillac truck that was stopped in traffic. The Mercedes continued hitting other vehicles at a high rate of speed, as the driver was unable to regain control of his car. Nine vehicles ended up in the chain-reaction car accident. Police stated they didn’t believe drugs or alcohol were factors.
Sudden medical emergencies are a common cause of crashes
In most car accident cases, the issue of fault is typically clear—someone was negligent or reckless behind the wheel. However, when someone has what is called a “sudden medical emergency,” liability is not necessarily as distinct. The sudden medical emergency defense can relieve a driver from liability on the grounds that the driver didn’t act negligently, so can’t be held responsible for something that was beyond their control. However, the driver does have to prove this defense. For example, they’d have to show that a sudden loss of consciousness occurred before losing control of the vehicle, and that the loss of consciousness caused them to lose control of the vehicle. And, that the loss of consciousness was caused by an unforeseen medical emergency.
“Unforeseen” means the driver had no warning and therefore had no chance to decrease the risk of having an accident. An example of this might be someone with no history of heart problems who has a sudden heart attack behind the wheel. The opposite of this might be someone with a history of seizure disorders—someone who may even have been warned about driving—suffering a seizure behind the wheel. The first case would likely be a sudden medical emergency. The second case would likely not, as they were aware of the medical risk before getting behind the wheel.
Who is liable in a sudden medical emergency accident?
You might be wondering, then, if you suffer injuries or damage in this kind of accident, who is responsible? Typically, you would first file with your own insurance company. Or, pursue a claim directly with the other driver’s insurance company. Lastly, you could file a personal injury suit against the driver in civil court.
Are you suffering due to injuries caused by a negligent driver? You can depend on our Chicago car accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law to provide you with strong advocacy from start to finish. We will vigorously fight for the compensation you deserve. We invite you to schedule a meeting with our legal team through our contact form, or by calling 312.548.9019 today.