Drivers Who Cause Accidents While Suffering From Medical Conditions Still Responsible for Damages
Drivers who experience a debilitating medical condition while behind the wheel can cause serious injuries to themselves and others, as well as significant property damage.
In a frightening accident that occurred recently in Valdosta, a driver of a pickup truck drove into the side of a local McDonald’s restaurant. According to news reports, the accident occurred around 10 o’clock in the morning, while the restaurant was full of customers eating their breakfast. The truck plowed through the restaurant, nearly hitting at least one customer. That customer was still physically shaken later that afternoon when he spoke to reporters. He told how he was in “Shock. I’m scared. I’m shaking. I’ve never in my life seen anything like that up close and personal.”
The Valdosta Police Department says that the driver had some sort of seizure, which was supported by a bystander who went to the driver’s aid after the accident. The bystander said he busted out one of the windows on the pick-up truck in order to shut off the vehicle and pull out the driver. The bystander said that while he was aiding the driver, he saw that the driver was shaking violently inside the vehicle.
Fortunately, in this situation, the driver, who was taken to SGMC for medical observation and treatment, apparently only suffered a few cuts and bruises and there were no other casualties, except for some significant structural damage to the restaurant.
Medical Conditions And Medications Can Cause Driver Impairment
As noted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is a driver’s health, and not necessarily the driver’s age, that makes a difference in how safe it is for that driver to be behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Some common medical conditions that can create an increased risk of a motor vehicle accident or car crash include:
- Seizures– which can involve loss of consciousness, as well as uncontrollable body convulsions or shaking.
- Parkinson’s disease– which can cause the driver’s arms, hands, or legs to shake. The disease also can affect balance and movement, making it more difficult for the driver to react quickly enough to respond to a dangerous condition or a change in direction, or to turn the steering wheel or apply the vehicle’s brake.
- Strokes– which can cause muscle weakness or paralysis which interferes with a driver’s ability to control his or her body. It also can affect a driver’s ability to process the complex thoughts necessary to operate a car. If a driver has a stroke behind the wheel, he or she may become confused, be unable to control the vehicle, or allow the vehicle to drift across lanes or into oncoming traffic.
- Diabetes– which can make a driver’s blood sugar levels fluctuate outside of normal levels, making the driver feel sleepy, dizzy, or confused, as well as cause loss of consciousness or a seizure.
- Alzheimer’s Disease Or Other Form Of Dementia– which can cause confusion or forgetfulness, causing a driver to get lost or get disoriented to the point of causing an accident.
Legal Liability For Accidents Caused By Driver With Medical Condition Or Medications
If a driver’s medical condition is not properly managed (and even sometimes if it is), the condition can cause a driver to fail to exercise ordinary care for the safety of others. For example, a person with epilepsy or seizure disorder may be held liable for a motor vehicle caused by a seizure if the person drives with the knowledge that he or she is prohibited from driving, such as where a physician has advised against driving or where the individual has not notified the state department of motor vehicles of the medical condition. Similarly, drivers who take medications also can be held liable for an accident that causes injuries if the medications or combinations of medications impact the driver’s ability to drive safety.
If you have been injured in an accident by a driver who appears to have been impaired by a medical condition or by medications, it is important that you protect your rights to legally recover for your injuries and damages. In the Tallahassee and Southern Georgia area, the Law Firm of Fasig & Brooks has skilled automobile accident attorneys who are experienced in working with clients who have been injured by impaired drivers. Call us today at (850) 222-3232 or use our online contact form for a free consultation to discuss how you can move forward with your car accident lawsuit.