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Who May Be Liable for a Seizure-Related Crash in New Jersey?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on December 18, 2023  in Car Accident News. Updated on January 10, 2024

female driver looking dazed while EMT tries to helpEpilepsy is a serious neurological disorder that some people suffer from. It is characterized by recurrent seizures. This medical condition could have life-altering consequences for a patient, even with treatment. If an epileptic seizure ends up causing a crash, who may be liable for any resulting damages?

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, we ask some hard questions about drivers suffering from epilepsy, including how it impacts their ability to drive safely and crash liability issues.

Injured in a crash by someone who suffered an epileptic seizure? Find out whether you may be able to recover compensation for your damages in that situation. Our collision attorneys in New Jersey offer a free case review, and you can call our law offices 24/7 to get started.

Call (800) 518-0508 to request a free case review with a licensed attorney at our firm.

What Is an Epileptic Seizure?

Epileptic seizures are the result of a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. This surge causes a wide range of symptoms that can vary in severity and may include:

  • Going into uncontrollable fits of jerking and shaking
  • The body becoming rigid, stiff
  • Losing awareness during the seizure; staring blankly
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Odd tactile sensations
  • Atypical fear, anxiety and other cognitive or emotional changes

Epileptics could also experience temporary loss of consciousness, muscle spasms or distorted sensations during seizures. While not all individuals with epilepsy experience seizures while driving, the possibility of such an event cannot be ruled out.

What Are the Risks of Driving With Epilepsy?

People diagnosed with epilepsy may feel like they are okay to drive, especially when they are only going a short distance. However, if you have not met your state and local legal requirements or have not been cleared by your doctor to drive, you could be violating the law. You could also be putting others at risk of serious harm.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even complex partial seizures can pose as deadly a risk as tonic-clonic seizures. Driving without being medically and legally cleared not only violates the law, but it could also end up causing a dangerous crash, leading to severe or even fatal injuries.

Can Driving Cause Someone to Suffer a Seizure?

Driving or riding in a car where certain factors exist could potentially cause someone to suffer a seizure. Repetitive light signals, for instance, could cause vehicle occupants, including the driver to suffer a seizure from the flickering light.

Can a Person With Epilepsy Be Liable for a Seizure-Related Crash?

It is important to point out that no one can be held liable for any crash based on a medical condition. Even if someone with epilepsy drove in violation of the law, injured victims must be able to prove that there was negligence. This includes establishing how that negligence led to a crash, caused injuries and resulted in damages, such as medical costs and lost wages.

Who May Be Liable for a Seizure-Related Crash?

From a legal standpoint, someone diagnosed with epilepsy could be held liable if failing to disclose their condition and violating prescribed driving restrictions led to a crash and caused injuries. These individuals, like any other negligent driver, should be held accountable for any injuries or damages resulting from a seizure-related accident.

A person with epilepsy could also be held liable for a crash even if he or she had been previously cleared to drive. For instance, if, despite being seizure-free for the required period of six months under the law, someone suddenly started having seizures again. If that individual failed to report the seizures to the doctor treating them, he or she could be held liable if a crash occurred.

Other Parties Who May Be Held Liable for a Seizure-Related Crash

Other drivers could be at least partially liable if their negligence contributed to or caused the crash. Healthcare providers could also be liable if they fail to properly evaluate or advise individuals with epilepsy about their driving eligibility and a car crash results.

What Legal Restrictions Do Drivers With Epilepsy Need to Follow?

Restrictions on individuals with epilepsy may vary by state. It is up to each driver to find out what the laws are in their state and follow them. In New Jersey, those diagnosed with epilepsy must:

  • Be seizure-free for six consecutive months, with or without taking medication.
  • Undergo a medical assessment and be medically cleared by a qualified physician
  • Provide a statement from a treating physician or neurologist certifying they have been seizure-free for that specified period
  • Undergo a medical review before being issued a driver’s license

These laws are intended to protect both the individual who suffers from epilepsy as well as others sharing the road. Drivers who violate these laws knowingly get behind the wheel before being medically cleared could face severe legal consequences, including the loss of their license.

Injured by a Negligent Driver? Call Lynch Law Firm for Legal Help Today

The most important thing to do after being injured in a car crash is to make your health your priority. You should get examined at an emergency room near you right away so doctors can quickly identify and stabilize your injuries.

Once your injuries are stabilized, you may be wondering who you should hire to handle your car crash lawsuit. At Lynch Law Firm, PC, we have been fighting for crash victims throughout New Jersey for decades. We have a proven record of success for our clients, and there are no upfront costs for our services.

Call today to learn if you have legal options. We are here to help.  (800) 518-0508

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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