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Can You Sue When a Driver’s Diabetes Causes a Truck Accident?

Inside the Truck Cab

Not all accidents are caused by pure negligence. Sometimes, a medical emergency can lead to a serious motor vehicle accident with a semi-truck. When accidents with truck drivers involve prescription medications, alcohol, or even another impaired form of driving, the driver is obviously at-fault for operating a commercial vehicle irresponsibly. But, what happens when a medical condition, such as diabetes, makes a driver’s body unsafe for operating a semi-truck? What if the accident is caused by something related to diabetes?

Determining if a driver is at-fault for a medical emergency-caused accident is not as easy as it may seem. Instead, it requires understanding negligence laws and how medical emergencies play a role in determining negligence.

A person with diabetes is not barred from driving or even operating a semi-truck, but there are limitations placed on the driver, and he or she could have restrictions on the license depending on the severity of the condition.

Determining Fault

Typically, an accident is clear with regard to who is at-fault. But, in the instance of a medical emergency, it is not always as clear. Most states in the country, including New York, recognize that there are sudden medical emergencies that justify accidents – meaning that the individual who caused the accident may not be held liable in civil court for the damages. This is only true, however, if the driver suffers from an unforeseen medical emergency. Therefore, if the diabetic truck driver could have prevented the medical emergency, then he or she would be liable.

New York courts will assess the driver’s claims when they use the sudden emergency situation defense. The burden of proof is on the defendant to show that he or she had a justifiable medical emergency. Some situations that could be considered a sudden medical emergency include:

  • The semi-truck driver suddenly lost consciousness before the accident.
  • The driver lost control of the vehicle because he or she was unconscious.
  • The driver had an unforeseeable medical emergency.

In the case of a diabetic truck driver, there are a few factors that would determine if it was an unforeseeable event. These include:

  • Reviewing the drivers past record. If the driver has had accidents in the past due to the condition, then it would be easy to argue that this was a foreseeable hazard.
  • Reviewing the driver’s medical records. If the medical professionals overseeing the driver’s care did not have him or her on any restrictions for driving, nor was there any way to predict that an unforeseeable event would occur, then the driver may not be liable.
  • Reviewing the driver’s actions. For example, if the driver knew that he or she needed to take medication as part of the diabetic treatment, but failed to take this medication, which then resulted in the accident, then it was preventable and not a sudden medical emergency.

Were You Injured in an Accident and the Truck Driver is Claiming an Emergency?

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a semi-truck and the driver is using the sudden medical emergency defense, you need to contact an attorney right away. The team at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. can assess your case and help establish that the accident was foreseeable. Contact us now to get started by scheduling a free consultation at 1-516-342-2200, or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.

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