Is Driving While Sick Negligent?

Categories: Car Accidents

Is Driving While Sick Negligent?

Working on Behalf of those Injured by West Palm Beach Drivers who were Driving While Sick

It’s flu season, and even here in sunny West Palm Beach people are getting sick. Unfortunately, while the best thing these people can do (for themselves and others) is to stay home and rest, many of them are hitting the roads to go to work, run errands, and prepare for the holiday season.

So, this begs the question: Is driving while sick negligent? In other words, if you are injured in an accident caused by someone who is ill, is his or her illness alone enough to entitle you to a financial recovery? It depends.

Legal Considerations When a Sick Driver Causes an Accident

1. Is Driving Sick Just as Dangerous as Driving Drunk?

Recent studies suggest that driving with a cold may be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Researchers in the United Kingdom reached this conclusion by examining data which revealed that:

  • Drivers with a “heavy cold” have slower reaction times than drivers who have been drinking heavily.
  • A heavy cold can also reduce drivers’ situational awareness by up to 33 percent. As a result, they tend to follow too closely, which in turn leads to an increased likelihood of causing a rear-end collision.
  • The average sneeze takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for three seconds.

In the words of Professor Smith of Cardiff University, “People who drive when they have a cold need to know the risks.”

2. The Dangerous Effects of Prescription Medications

Many people who are sick take prescription medications to help manage their symptoms or speed up their recovery. While there is nothing wrong with taking a properly prescribed medication, there is something wrong with getting behind the wheel while impaired by prescription drugs. Driving under the influence of prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as driving drunk (if not even more dangerous), and drivers who cause accidents while under the influence of prescription drugs can be held financially responsible for victims’ losses.

3. The “Sudden Medical Emergency” Defense

Under Florida law, one way that negligent drivers can seek to avoid liability is by asserting the “sudden medical emergency” defense. Florida law says that if a driver suffers a sudden and unforeseeable loss of consciousness or capacity while driving, then he or she is not legally responsible for any negligent acts committed while unconscious or incapacitated. If a person has an illness, is it foreseeable that he or she would lose consciousness and cause an accident? Maybe. It most likely depends on the specific illness in question. You will need to speak with an attorney who can assess your case and conduct an appropriate investigation.

Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in a car accident in West Palm Beach, Brian D. Guralnick for a free consultation. It costs you nothing to learn your rights, and we do not charge any legal fees unless we win financial compensation for your losses. Let help you recover from your injuries – call me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally at 561-202-6673 now.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.

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Brian D. Guralnick

About the Author: Brian D. Guralnick

Brian D. Guralnick has been successfully representing injured accident victims in Florida since 1993. He has been voted “Best of the Best” personal injury lawyer by the Palm Beach Post for multiple years. If you have been injured in any type of accident, please call Brian and his team 24/7 at 561-202-6673.