A woman was seriously hurt when she fell asleep at the wheel and caused a single-vehicle car accident in northern Missouri. While falling asleep at the wheel due to fatigue is a strong sign of negligence, what if a driver becomes incapacitated because of a medical condition, like a seizure?
Driver Crashes After Falling Asleep
The incident happened just after noon on Tuesday, March 8, near the town of Grant City, Missouri. According to the initial police reports, the driver was going northward on Route 169 when she fell asleep. Her vehicle crossed the median and hit a concrete drainage culvert on the opposite side of the road.
The driver suffered serious injuries in the crash. She was not wearing a seatbelt.
Falling Asleep While Driving is Usually Negligence
Generally, falling asleep while behind the wheel is considered an act of negligence. Drivers have a legal duty to keep others on the road safe. When they fall asleep in their moving vehicle, they are failing this legal obligation. If they cause someone else’s injuries, they will be held liable for them. The sleeping driver will be responsible for compensating the hurt driver.
What About Drivers Incapacitated by a Medical Condition?
Things get murkier when the driver who caused the accident fell asleep or was otherwise incapacitated by a medical condition, like epilepsy or diabetes.
In these cases, the deciding factor is whether the driver knew or should have known of their condition and the risks that it posed to other drivers.
Drivers who suddenly lose control of their vehicle due to a medical condition will still be held liable for the resulting crash if they knew of their condition, had been diagnosed by a doctor, were given specific instructions for hold to treat it, but then failed to take those precautions. For example, if someone with epilepsy will be liable for a crash caused by a seizure if they are given medication but then do not take it, or if they are specifically told by a doctor not to drive.
On the other hand, there are drivers who have no idea about their condition before it causes the crash. Even these drivers, however, may be held liable for the accident if they should have known about the condition. For example, if someone knows that they start to feel strange and dizzy if they miss a meal it may be reasonable to expect them to see a doctor and find out if they have diabetes. If they do not see a doctor, opt for self-treatment, instead, and then cause a crash after their blood sugar drops so low that it causes a seizure, they may still be held liable for the accident.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office Serve St. Joseph
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident that was caused by someone’s medical condition, that does not mean that you are out of luck. Call the personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office at (816) 875-9373 or contact them online.