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What Happened

The Oregon State Police reported on July 20 that a head-on crash on Highway 97 in Klamath County killed one driver and injured another. Hyundai with Norman Shell, 75, was going N when it entered the S lane and slammed into a BMW head-on. The driver of that vehicle was Natalie Carlson. Police believe Norman Shell had a medical problem just before the accident. Both people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Shell died later at the hospital.

Medical Event Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you sustained a serious injury in a car accident by someone who may have suffered a medical event, you may be curious how a personal injury lawsuit might unfold. It is true that some serious car accidents are caused by people with medical problems, such as heart disease, poor eyesight, diabetes, and seizures. It is certainly possible to collect damages in this type of car accident case.

But determining liability in a car accident caused by a driver with a medical emergency is more complex than other cases. A good personal injury attorney in Portland is invaluable to your cause in these situations.

The Issue

One issue is there is no standard way to determine fault in such crashes. Each case is different, based on such matters as intentional negligence on the part of the driver, how much the condition contributed to the accident, and how badly you are injured. The judge will review expert testimony from medical professionals to determine if the driver was aware of their medical condition. If the driver was aware of it, the judge will attempt to evaluate if they were intentionally negligent by not taking care of the problem.

Legal Talk

The judge will also want to know how much the medical condition contributed to the accident. For minor health problems, the judge might find that the pre-existing health problem had no part of the accident. But for a serious health problem such as a heart attack or epilepsy, the health issue will be a big factor when determining fault. If the judge finds out the driver did not know about their medical condition, it can be harder to obtain compensation for accident victims. If the driver is deceased, their attorneys may argue the driver was unaware of their condition and could not have prevented the accident. This is called the sudden emergency doctrine.

Take Aways

This doctrine states that a driver’s loss of control or consciousness must have occurred without warning and in a way that prevented them from taking emergency action, such as stopping immediately. So, a person who knows they have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes and does not take medication or check their blood sugar has a higher liability in an accident than someone who suffers a seizure with no prior knowledge of the disease.

Talk to The Herron Law Firm Today

A car accident that may have been caused by a medical emergency is more complex than a standard accident. In these cases, it pays to have an experienced car accident attorney representing you.

Contact The Herron Law Firm today for a complimentary consultation.

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    If You are a doctor or a practicing medical professional and would like to refer a case to our attorney, please reach out directly by phone 24/7 at 503-367-0829.


    If You are an attorney and would like to refer a case to our attorney Bart Herron, please reach out directly by phone 24/7 at 503-367-0829.