IF SOMEONE HAS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CAN THEY GET OUT OF PAYING MY BILLS FOR A CAR WRECK?
Posted on Monday, April 10th, 2017 at 2:20 am
It may not happen often; however, it does happen. Someone has a sudden emergency or a medical emergency while driving, and that driver causes a car accident. Does the emergency excuse the liability for the car wreck? Under California law, an emergency may be a legal defense to a car accident claim in some very narrow circumstances.
California’s Sudden Emergency or Medical Emergency Defense
Under California law, if a person has a sudden emergency or a medical emergency and causes a car wreck that person may not be liable for damages if he or she can prove the following things:
- There was a sudden or unexpected emergency;
- The emergency placed the driver or someone in immediate threat of injury;
- Whatever created the emergency was not the fault of the driver;
- The driver’s actions were like the actions of a reasonable person who was in a similar situation.
The key is to prove that the person acted reasonably given the circumstances, but this can be difficult to prove. The burden of proof is on the driver. Therefore, the driver must prove each element in order to win with this type of defense in a car accident claim. The victim does not need to provide any evidence to disprove the driver although an experienced attorney may develop a strategy to fight this type of defense.
One exception to the medical emergency defense deals with mental illness. The medical emergency defense cannot be used to argue that a mental illness or mental health condition waives liability for a car accident claim.
Filing a Car Accident Claim for Damages
Proving fault is essential when you file a car accident claim. You cannot recover damages from the other driver unless you prove that the driver was at fault for the collision. An experienced Sacramento car accident attorney conducts an independent accident investigation to determine the cause of the accident. He identifies evidence to use in court to prove the other driver caused the collision.
Sometimes the insurance company for the other driver may try to say that you are partially at fault for the wreck. This tactic is used to decrease the amount of money the company must pay to settle your claim. In these cases, your attorney may utilize an expert to recreate the accident to prove beyond a doubt that the other driver was solely responsible for the crash.
Call for A Free Appointment with A Sacramento Car Accident Attorney
If a negligent driver injured you, you might be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Your first step is to contact our office to request your free consultation with an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney.
Call the Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or visit our website to request your free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our law firm serves clients in Sacramento, Folsom, Roseville, El Dorado Hills and other communities in the greater Sacramento area.