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Long Island, NY Personal Injury
& Accident Lawyers
33 Queens St. Syosset, NY 11791 Free Consultation 516.307.1199
Heart Attacks & Car Accidents.

    While most people know that serious motor vehicle accidents can cause broken bones and traumatic brain injuries, what they don’t often know is that serious accidents also can cause heart attacks. Given the stress and fear during an accident, even people who have healthy hearts and have never had a cardiovascular incident suddenly can experience shortness of breath and chest pains, related to the stress this puts on the heart.

    There also are people who may have had atrial fibrillation in the past, but due to medical treatment successfully manage this condition. A frightening occurrence such as a car accident could upset a normal heart rhythm and bring on atrial fibrillation.

    What About Someone With a History?
    However, if someone with a history of heart disease actually has a heart attack that results in a car accident, determining liability can be complicated. Generally, a driver who has had a sudden medical emergency such as a heart attack that caused an accident has the burden of proof. That is, he must prove that the heart attack was unavoidable – there simply was no way for him to prevent it. He also must prove that he lost consciousness which caused him to lose control of the vehicle. If he can prove that he complies with his doctor’s advice, that he takes whatever medication he has been prescribed, and if he can produce credible witnesses, it could be difficult to hold him accountable.
    Additionally, his insurance carrier might be more resistant than usual (which is to say, extremely resistant) to a settlement.

    However, it also may be the case that this individual should have been far more cautious. For example, if his doctor specifically advised him not to drive, and he drove anyway, this may not be considered a sudden medical emergency since he was warned and did not heed the advice. Or, if he suddenly felt himself feeling ill and took no measure to get off the road, that also might not be considered a sudden medical emergency.

    But, But, But . . .
    It also happens that, an individual who has never had a cardiovascular incident has his first one on the road. In that instance, obviously, there is no prior history of heart trouble, and so this person could not be expected to foresee a sudden medical emergency.

    That is, in every way, his medical history has been pristine. He has never been rushed to the hospital for chest pain. Nor has his doctor ever diagnosed any cardiovascular disease. In this instance, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove his liability – and it would not be fair, either. There are those times when a car accident is completely unavoidable, and this would be one of those times.

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