Monday afternoon around 5:30 p.m., a van heading north on Livernois collided with a car at the intersection of Wattles and Livernois. It appears the driver of the van might have suffered a medical event and failed to stop at a traffic signal. One passenger in the Ford Escape, 70-year-old Shyamala Ramachandran, died as a result of her injuries. The two other people in the car and the driver of the van were taken to local hospitals with serious injuries. The investigation into this accident is ongoing.
The accident that took the life of Shyamala Ramachandran also occurred during rush hour and at a busy urban intersection. Certainly the time and place elevated the odds that the driver’s medical emergency would result in an accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, rush hour is the single most likely time for accidents to occur, and urban intersections, by far, are the most common locations for fatal accidents. Add this to one driver experiencing a medical emergency, and it really did create a dangerous set of factors that led to a very serious accident.
Accidents Preceded by Medical Events Are Not Uncommon
Unfortunately, traffic accidents that start with one driver experiencing a medical emergency are not uncommon. In some cases, these accidents are just tragic all around. The person who experiences the medical event (a stroke, heart attack, seizure, loss of consciousness, etc.) may have no knowledge of a risky health condition and no forewarning of the impending health crisis. In these cases, the Sudden Emergency Doctrine is likely to apply. This defense does, however, require the emergency to be “unusual or totally unexpected.”
As I’ve written before, a pre-existing medical condition may indicate negligence in cases driver knows about the medical condition and failed to properly monitor and control the condition as would be expected. This can include things like a failure to take necessary medication, to monitor blood sugar, or to wear required visual aids. These cases hinge upon the specifics of the medical condition and key details related to the crash itself.
In the case of a motor vehicle accident precipitated by a medical emergency, some accident victims may feel badly about pursuing a claim or lawsuit against the other driver and his or her insurance company. It’s important to remember that the person who experienced the medical emergency may have easily been able to prevent the accident from occurring.
If you are in this position, call the auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg. We will listen to the details of your case and answer any questions you have during a completely free consultation. With our decades of successful experience working with car accident victims, we are strong, knowledgeable allies for our clients, many of whom have been permanently affected by the wrongdoing of another. Call us today at 1-800-LEE-FREE.