Driver Claims Accident was Caused by a Sneezing Fit
ATHENS, GA- Foxnews.com reports that a woman who suffered a sneezing fit while behind the wheel drove her SUV into the back of a minivan. The driver, a 43-year-old woman from Mississippi, told officers who responded to the collision that the sneezing was the reason she failed to slow down when the minivan slowed at a yellow traffic light.*
The woman claims that she kept repeatedly sneezing and before she knew it, her airbag hit her in the face. No one was injured in the crash. Police issued a citation to the driver of the SUV for following behind another vehicle too closely.
In many states, drivers who are involved in car accidents that result from sudden medical emergencies will not be found legally liable for the results of the collisions. However, the medical emergency defense only works in cases where the condition was not foreseeable. For example, a person who experienced a heart attack for the first time ever with no prior warnings or indications would have strong argument for not being liable in a car crash that was the result the condition. However, a person who frequently suffered seizures would potentially be liable if he or she experienced a seizure while driving and caused a crash because this individual should have known that he or she was putting everyone on the road at risk when he or she decided to drive.
It is unclear whether a sneezing fit would qualify as a medical emergency for the purposes of avoiding liability. It is also unclear whether the driver had a known history of violent sneezing fits which would preclude the defense.
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