Sudden Medical Emergency Defense By Josh Silverman on May 21, 2013

The recent tragic car accident in Damascus, Virginia involving an elderly driver who injured approximately 50 people watching a parade may be defended under the "sudden emergency doctrine."  In Virginia it is very rare that an accident can be deemed no fault, but a sudden medical emergency may qualify.  The burden falls on the defendant to show that the accident was due to a sudden medical emergency and that it was unforeseeable.  In past cases, I have defeated the sudden medical emergency doctrine by showing that the defendant knew that he or she had a medical condition that could cause an accident.  For example, in one case a defendant claimed he passed out prior to the accident.  By subpoenaing his medical records I was able to show that he was a diabetic and had not been properly managing his blood sugar. In another case, the defendant was driving despite a known heart condition that put her at risk for passing out.

The burden is ultimately on the defendant to prove that the accident was due to a sudden medical emergency once the plaintiff has made a prima facie case of negligence.

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Josh Silverman

Silverman Law Firm LC

At the Silverman Law Firm LC in Richmond, VA, attorney Josh Silverman and his team represent victims of personal injuries and medical malpractice. Josh Silverman has been recognized as a "Virginia Super Lawyer" every year since 2013 and was selected as a 2015 Top Rated Lawyer in Healthcare Law based on his AV Peer Review Rating in Martindale-Hubbell©.

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