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Car Accident Caused by Medical Emergency

Car Accident Liability When There is a Sudden Medical Emergency

By their very nature, sudden medical emergencies are unexpected and unpredictable. They can happen at any time, even when driving. When a sudden medical emergency happens to a driver and causes a car accident, the driver may not be liable for accident damages under Wisconsin law.

Under Wisconsin’s medical emergency doctrine, if a driver suffers a medical situation that was not foreseeable, he or she will not be held responsible for any financial or legal responsibility for the event or for any behavior that may have stemmed from the emergency situation. Common examples of medical emergencies that can lead to a car accident are:

  • Heart Attacks
  • Blackouts
  • Brain Aneurisms
  • Seizures

The key to determining liability in these situations hinges on the question of whether or not the condition was foreseeable or anticipated.

Red-Flag Medical Conditions, Evidence Collection, and Establishing Liability

While there is no doubt that medical emergencies can and do occur behind the wheel, there is also no doubt that some at-fault drivers try to use the “medical emergency” excuse as a way to avoid liability for the accident. This is one reason why specific requirements must be met before a driver can use a medical emergency as a defense argument. 

A car accident attorney for the victim will investigate the situation to collect evidence to determine if the at-fault party knew or should have known about their risk of having a medical problem occur while driving. If, for example, the driver knew he or she had a certain condition, then chances are they also knew they were at risk of suffering an emergency at any time, including when driving.

Pre-existing medical conditions that raise red flags as having the potential to result in an emergency medical situation while driving include:

  • Heart disease and the treatment thereof.
  • Diabetes.
  • Seizures and seizure medications.
  • Eye conditions that affect the ability to drive.

Whenever a medical condition defense is raised, the victims’ attorneys and the courts will want to examine the evidence, consult medical experts, review the patient’s medical records and medical history, and conduct interviews with affected parties to ascertain whether or not the emergency could have been foreseeable. Your attorney will want to speak with the other driver’s doctors and independent experts to determine potential liability.

When To Seek Legal Counsel

Suppose you are involved in a car accident where the other side claims they are not at fault due to a medical emergency. In that case, it is best to contact a car accident attorney for advice and representation right away, before the case advances. These cases are complex due to the nature of medical diagnoses. Having a personal injury attorney represent you is your best chance of recovering damages and winning your case. Losing a case could mean you are on the hook for vehicle damages, medical bills, and other financial losses. Winning the case means the other party will bear at least some financial responsibility for your losses, which can be very helpful for most people.

Contact the car accident attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices to discuss your situation during a free case consultation by calling 608-256-8356 or emailing



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.