• R.F Wittmeyer
  • January 23, 2020

On January 16, 2020, a Wonder Lake man suffered a medical issue while driving his pickup truck. As a result of the issue, he crashed into a McHenry Starbucks and injured five people. A teenager recalled the scene inside the Starbucks to CBS 2 Chicago: ““A few of the workers just started, you know, screaming, and then someone had yelled out there’s someone stuck under the debris, and that’s when it became very serious.”

Car accidents caused by a medical emergency happen occasionally. For example, only a few weeks before, a man died after his vehicle struck a tree when he experienced a medical issue. Howeer, liability after the car accident is not as simple as many other car accidents. If the crash occurred due to a medical emergency, courts may consider the experience as an Act of God. In Illinois, courts sometimes accept this potential defense to relieve the defendant from liability of the accident.

Only an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer can assist you with your questions.

How Often Do Car Accidents Caused by Medical Emergencies Occur?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “incidences of drivers who had crashes precipitated by their medical emergencies while driving are relatively rare and account for only 1.3 percent of all drivers” included in their surveys. Generally, older drivers have higher incidences of crashes caused by medical emergencies. Additionally, 62% involved a single automobile. But as seen with the incident in McHenry, sometimes medical emergency accidents injure pedestrians.

Medical Emergency Car Accidents in Illinois

In order for a defendant to use the medical emergency defense, they must be able to establish that:

  1. Before the accident happened, the driver became unconscious,
  2. experienced unexpected loss of consciousness,
  3. the loss of consciousness and control over the vehicle caused the accident,

The Emergency Doctrine in Wisconsin

States do have different rules for negligence involving a medical emergency. For example, Wisconsin utilizes the emergency doctrine.

Under Wisconsin law, the emergency doctrine applies a three-part test:

  1. the party seeking its benefits must be free from the negligence which contributed to the creation of the emergency;
  2. the time element in which action is required must be short enough to preclude the deliberate and intelligent choice of action; and
  3. the element of negligence inquired into must concern management and control.

If you or someone you loved was injured due to an accident involving a driver who suffered a medical emergency in Wisconsin, contact the experienced Kenosha personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. today for a free consultation.

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