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Who’s Liable for a Car Accident Due to a Sudden Medical Emergency?

Each year, an average of 6 million car accidents occur in the United States. Some of these accidents result in at-fault drivers claiming a sudden medical emergency as the cause. In Minnesota, the emergency situation doctrine helps define liability for these specific cases.

What Is a Sudden Medical Emergency Claim?

A sudden medical emergency is an unforeseen medical emergency that causes a car accident. Some of these medical emergencies may include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures
  • Syncope

In order for the sudden medical emergency defense to apply, the driver must have lost consciousness immediately before the accident occurred, causing them to lose control. The driver would have had no time to properly react to prevent the accident.

The driver must have no medical history of the condition that caused the emergency and must not be under doctor’s orders to refrain from driving. For example, an individual who suffered a heart attack without previous heart concerns may be able to claim a medical emergency.

Who’s Liable After a Car Accident Caused by Medical Emergency?

If the at-fault driver’s claim is true, they’re not liable for your injuries or any damages to your vehicle. In Minnesota, however, the no-fault insurance rule applies to all car accidents, regardless of the cause. You’ll submit your claim to your own insurance company who then pays for your medical care and damages, regardless of who’s legally responsible for the accident.

In Minnesota, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under your auto insurance policy applies to you, your spouse, your children, any relative living in your home without insurance of their own and anyone using your car without coverage of their own. PIP coverage pays for:

  • Medical bills due to injury
  • Lost wages due to injury
  • Funeral expenses up to $2,000 if the accident results in death
  • Services for chores or cleaning you can’t do due to injury

Is the At-Fault Driver Claiming an Emergency? Call an Attorney.

Although you can’t receive pain and suffering compensation through PIP, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim for additional compensation if the at-fault party’s claim is false. We recommend reaching out to a professional attorney for help. To learn more, send us a message