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What Is the Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

Did you know that third-party liability for personal injury claims is often about timing and circumstance? Most personal injury cases hinge on whether the defendant was negligent at a particular moment. If there is no negligence found, then there is no liability.

This does not mean that you can not get sued. It does mean if you have a solid defense, your case will not go much further than the initial stages.

A sudden medical emergency defense may make it possible to have an entire defense to a claim of personal injury. But, the circumstances must meet specific factors that remain consistent for the defense to be effective.

Have you found yourself in one of these unfortunate circumstances? Read on to learn more about the sudden emergency defense and how it could impact your case.

What Is a Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

A sudden medical emergency defense is a defense used in a personal injury case where a medical condition arises, causing an auto accident. A sudden medical emergency could absolve a driver of responsibility for an accident if a sudden medical emergency is to blame.

Personal injury law believes if someone caused an accident by their negligence, that person should be accountable for the costs resulting from the accident. A person experiencing a medical event did not intend to injure another person. So, the sudden medical emergency defense may release them from blame.

What Is Foreseeability?

Foreseeability evaluates if the responsible party could have expected that their action or inaction would result in harm to another person. If the accident did not stem from an act of negligence, the individual is not to blame for the injuries suffered by another person. If a medical emergency causes a car collision, the at-fault party must prove the following:

  • the driver lost consciousness
  • they lost control of the vehicle as a result of loss of consciousness
  • the loss of consciousness was a result of an unexpected medical incident

They must also prove that the onset of the medical emergency prevented the driver from taking any preventative measures. It was an unexpected event that the driver could not prepare for.

What Defines a Sudden Medical Emergency?

A sudden medical emergency is a sudden onset or an exacerbation of symptoms. These symptoms then led to a situation requiring immediate medical treatment. A sudden medical emergency does not include conditions that were already present.

Or symptoms that were being treated before the auto accident. This is important to note. If the medical condition was present before the accident and only treated after the accident. Then you cannot use a sudden medical emergency defense.

When Can You Use the Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

The sudden medical emergency defense is only valid in specific circumstances. To use this defense, the medical condition that arose must be sudden and unexpected. The event was so severe that it required immediate medical attention.

The medical issue must have presented itself during the accident, and you must not have known about the condition beforehand. You must have acted as reasonably as possible in light of the circumstances.

If you made an error in judgment or failed to act appropriately despite knowing the condition, you cannot use this defense. It’s also important to note that the defense is not valid if the treatment required is not consistent with that of a standard emergency.

What Are the Requirements for a Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

There are several requirements for sudden medical emergency defense. First, the condition that caused the medical emergency must qualify as an emergency.

This means that it must have required immediate medical attention. The medical condition must have arisen suddenly and unexpectedly.

This means that it must have been sudden in onset and not something that was even foreseen. So, they did not have time to get proper medical attention. Which means they did not have an opportunity to go to a doctor’s office, hospital, or another medical facility for treatment.

Types of Car Accidents Involving the Sudden Emergency Defense

Many auto accident causes stem from a medical emergency. A sudden medical emergency defense could apply in a collision between two or more vehicles. Or between a vehicle and a pedestrian or bicyclist.

But, only if one or more of the drivers or passengers experienced an unexpected or sudden onset of a medical condition. However, if a vehicle occupant experiences symptoms of a medical condition before an accident. As well as, worsening of the condition that was present before the accident. Then they cannot use the sudden medical emergency defense.

But, if the condition is sudden and unexpected during the accident, the occupants of that vehicle might be able to. A collision between a vehicle and a stationary object also falls under the sudden medical emergency defense. In this circumstance, sudden and unexpected medical conditions with any people involved in the accident could qualify for the defense.

How Hiring a Lawyer Can Help You

Your attorney will help you build your case by finding the most relevant evidence and putting together the best possible defense. The sudden medical emergency defense can be weak if the defense team is not working with all the facts of your particular circumstances.

Your attorney can handle everything for you. They will conduct a thorough investigation and retain expert witnesses. All to help strengthen your case and give you a better chance of winning.

Your attorney will conduct discovery, or a thorough investigation, to gather any evidence that supports your case. This evidence could include witness statements, medical records, and police reports. Your attorney will also be able to examine the evidence that the other side gathers.

Throughout the case, your attorney will interview all witnesses relevant to your case. They will review police reports, and request lab results.

Your attorney will also work with expert witnesses to build your case. Expert witnesses are people who have special knowledge or skills that apply to your case.

Have You Been Involved in an Accident Involving a Sudden Medical Emergency?

An expert attorney is an ideal person to offer guidance on how to proceed with your case and protect you. Are you a victim of another driver’s unexpected medical emergency? Or have you experienced a sudden medical event yourself? We can help you.

Contact us or check out our About Us section to learn more. We proudly serve all of Florida, and our goal is to establish a long-term relationship with each client. The people we assist and the lives we transform are what we are most passionate about.


In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.

Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.