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Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Truck Accidents / Tractor-Trailer Crash Caused by a Medical Emergency: Can I Still Sue?

Tractor-Trailer Crash Caused by a Medical Emergency: Can I Still Sue?


Many tractor-trailer accidents are attributed to medical emergencies, but this doesn’t make them any less destructive. When a trucker loses control of their vehicle, the consequences can be catastrophic for everyone on the road – whether the trucker is unconscious, distracted, or in the midst of a seizure. After an accident of this nature, you might be wondering whether you can still pursue compensation. Can you sue after a truck accident in South Carolina caused by a medical emergency?

Why Are Medical Emergencies So Dangerous for Truckers? 

Medical emergencies are especially dangerous for truck drivers – mostly due to the destructive potential of tractor-trailers. Someone on a bicycle or e-scooter can only cause minimal damage after suffering a heart attack and losing control of their small, lightweight vehicles. In contrast, truckers may cause “mass casualty events” after losing consciousness behind the wheel – as their vehicles have the power to smash through dozens of smaller cars.

A distracted driver can quickly regain control of their vehicle after veering off the road. In addition, a trucker who dozes off might wake up after hearing the blaring horn of a nearby vehicle. In contrast, a trucker suffering from a serious medical emergency is completely incapable of regaining control – and they may completely lose consciousness with no hope of being roused. In some cases, crashed trucks are found with their wheels still spinning – with unconscious drivers still leaning on the gas pedal.

Does a Medical Emergency Represent a Legitimate Defense Strategy? 

In the past, drivers have successfully escaped liability after experiencing sudden, unexpected medical emergencies behind the wheel. This defense strategy is only applicable in certain situations, however. Perhaps most notably, the medical emergency in question must be completely unforeseeable. For example, a driver may struggle to escape liability if they were repeatedly warned not to drive due to their history of persistent seizures.

A trucker who is prone to medical emergencies should not be driving a commercial vehicle. If a truck driver causes a crash due to a medical emergency, questions may be raised about the trucking company’s hiring processes. Did the company become aware of the trucker’s ill health? Did the driver fail medical tests? Keep in mind that in order to obtain and maintain a commercial driver’s license in South Carolina, truckers must pass regular physical examinations. If the trucker somehow kept their license and their job despite serious health issues, various third parties could be held liable – including doctors.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in South Carolina 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced Charleston truck accident lawyer, look no further than Mickelsen Dalton, LLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous plaintiffs injured by truck accidents – and we know how to effectively pursue compensation on your behalf. While the “sudden medical emergency” defense may apply to some truck accidents, it is not impervious to legal scrutiny. Reach out today to assess the most appropriate course of action.




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