On September 7, 2022, a Fort Lauderdale resident crashed his truck into a tree. He had one passenger, and both sustained severe injuries. According to WSVN7 News, the driver passed out, causing the crash.
This raises the question of fault for accidents caused by drivers who suffer unconsciousness. See below for an examination of motor vehicle accidents caused by a medical emergency.
Does loss of consciousness void liability?
Florida courts consider the unexpected and sudden loss of consciousness a valid defense. In Hernandez v. Mishali, the courts declared they needed sufficient proof of the defendant’s loss of consciousness. In most cases, this relies on a passenger in the car and a doctor’s testimony. The passenger in Mishali’s car said his eyes remained open during the crash but was unresponsive. In the end, the Court of Appeals determined there was not reasonable evidence for the defendant’s loss of consciousness.
How does the defendant prove it?
A sudden loss of consciousness is a complete defense for negligence claims in motor vehicle accidents. However, it is challenging to prove sudden loss of consciousness, especially if you are conscious before and after the collision. If you do not have any passengers in the car, you need to rely on a doctor’s opinion. Medical conditions and history also factor into the decision.
Does it apply to single-car accidents?
You might also avoid negligence if you get into a single-car accident because of a sudden loss of consciousness. Florida is a no-fault state, but avoiding negligence might help keep your insurance premiums from increasing.
Accidents caused by a sudden loss of consciousness are rare, but they happen occasionally. Florida courts consider losing consciousness a valid defense against negligence.