When people talk about 'Acts of God' in relation to car accidents, they're typically referring to extreme weather events and other uncontrollable circumstances such as flooding or falling trees. However, in some rare cases, a judge or jury may decide an unexpected medical event qualifies as an 'Act of God' and absolve the affected persons of liability in auto accidents. Here's more information about this unique defense, and ways you can counter it in court.
When a medical emergency becomes an 'Act of God'
In most cases where an accident occurs because a driver of a vehicle suffered a medical emergency, there's typically precedence for the incident. The person will usually have a medical history that supports the inevitability of the medical issue occurring.
For example, a person with diabetes is more likely to suffer hypoglycemia, which can affect the individual's ability to drive. If the person causes an accident because he or she suddenly suffered an episode of low blood sugar, the court will typically assign liability to the person on the basis that the individual should have known or had reason to know an event like that would occur.
To be labeled as an 'Act of God', then, the sudden medical emergency must occur without any warning or prior evidence it would happen. For example, a Minnesota truck driver suffered a syncopal episode (sudden drop in blood pressure) that caused him to pass out, which led to a traffic accident. The man had no prior symptoms. Because of the unique and statistically improbable nature of the circumstances, the court labeled the incident an 'Act of God' and absolved the driver and the company he worked for of any liability for the incident.
You vs the 'Act of God' claim
When an accident occurs as the result of an 'Act of God', the injured parties won't be able to collect compensation for their losses because of the lack of assigned liability. Therefore, countering this defense will be paramount if you hope to be awarded money for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
There are a couple of ways you can counter the claim. As noted previously, most of the time there is some sign the medical event would have occurred regardless of what the person may claim. Subpoenaing the individual's medical records, company incident reports, records from prior accidents, and interviewing family, friends and coworkers of the defendant can sometimes reveal pertinent information that can help your case.
Another option is to hire expert witnesses to potentially counter any medical testimony the other party may submit. The healthcare professional can call into question the accuracy of the information presented by the defense and help you make a case the person should have had prior knowledge of his or her condition.
If you find yourself up against this type of claim in your accident case, connect with a car accident lawyer who can help you counter it effectively so you can obtain the compensation you're due.Share