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Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sudden Medical Emergency Defense in New York

Q: Is a driver who suffers a sudden medical emergency responsible for injuries in a car accident?

Sometimes it's easy to forget it celebrities are just like the rest of us and aren't immune to tragedies like a pedestrian car accident in New York City. Recently, a pregnant Tony award-winning actress and her 4-year-old daughter were walking in a Brooklyn neighborhood with her friend and the friend’s 1-year-old son who was in a stroller when tragedy struck.

They were run down by a car that reportedly slowed or stopped at a red light before allegedly suddenly accelerating and crashing into them. Both women, along with a man nearby, were seriously injured and taken to the hospital. The actress was admitted to intensive care for several days, but the two children were tragically killed. The actress’ unborn baby is reportedly okay.

If somebody acts in a negligent, reckless, or intentional manner which causes harm to someone else, the victim may be entitled to compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Such damages may include the victim’s current and future medical expenses, current and future lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. Such lawsuits may be appropriate for the injured adults involved.

However, if the accident results in a death, the closest surviving relatives of the victim--generally the spouse, parents, or children--may be entitled to damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Such lawsuits may be appropriate for the parents of the children who were killed.

Wrongful death lawsuits are very complicated and differ on a case-by-case basis with respect to who is entitled to sue for damages and what type of damages they may be entitled to recover. Compensatory damages generally include the medical expenses and burial expenses of the victim as well as the pain and suffering the victim experienced prior to the death. Often, other damages are awarded to offset the financial burden of the loss of the victim on the surviving relatives. Parents may also be awarded damages for the death of a child.

But what happens if the driver that caused the accident suffered a sudden medical emergency?

States differ on whether they recognize the onset of a sudden medical emergency as a defense and, if so, how they determine whether it applies in each case.

In the case at hand, the driver who reportedly suffers from multiple sclerosis, "apparently had a seizure while stopped at the red light" and allegedly doesn't recall the incident.

The ongoing investigation is reportedly focusing on the driver’s "medical records, bloodwork, cell phone logs and driving record” as well as whether or not a doctor advised her not to drive. The vehicle involved, though not necessarily the driver, was also reportedly previously "cited multiple times for speeding in school zones and running red lights”.

If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed in an accident that was someone else's fault, the Goldstein Law Firm can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. While a lawsuit will not undo the accident or take away your pain, it may help relieve the financial burden caused by your loss. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our office in the Bronx, New York, we represent accident victims and their families throughout New York City and New York State including those injured while visiting New York.


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