According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there have been approximately 2,088 medical-related car accidents in Colorado in the past 10 years. In the same time frame, there have been 17 fatalities because of medical emergencies on Colorado roads.
One of the many ongoing risks for drivers is the risk of seizures while driving. What are the dangers of seizures while driving? Who is legally liable if an accident occurs because of a seizure while driving? Here’s what you need to know from our team of experienced Denver car accident lawyers.
Dangers of Seizures While Driving
The dangers of seizures while driving are significant. If you have a seizure, you may lose control of the vehicle. You may cause car accident injuries to yourself and others. You should ensure that all medical conditions are under control before you choose to drive a vehicle.
Epilepsy and Driving
Epilepsy is a serious danger for drivers. When a seizure occurs while driving, you can injure yourself and others. Individuals with a history of seizures have a duty of care for other drivers on the road. That means you must have your risk of seizures under control before you operate a vehicle. If you injure others because of a foreseeable medical event, you may have a legal liability to the victims for their damages.
Can You Drive a Vehicle With a History of Seizures?
You may be able to drive a vehicle with a history of seizures. Most states require you to affirm that you have not had any medical conditions or events that could interfere with your ability to drive in a period of time before your application for a driver’s license.
If there’s any question about your safety to drive, the state may submit your application for an in-depth inquiry. Most states use a self-reporting system where you self-report whether or not you’re safe to drive. To drive legally and safely on the road, you must meet the medical requirements for your state and honestly answer the questions about your medical history.
Who Reports Seizures to DMV in Colorado?
Law enforcement or immediate family members may report a seizure to the DMV. A driver must also answer brief questions about their medical history when they apply for a license. There is no mandatory reporting requirement for doctors.
Is Your Driver’s License Automatically Suspended After a Seizure in Colorado?
No, your driver’s license is not automatically suspended after a seizure in Colorado. However, if you have two accidents in three years or one fatal accident, your license is automatically submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles for reexamination. While a suspension is not automatic, state officials can still decide that you’re not able to have a license because of a health condition.
Colorado Driver’s License and Medical Conditions
When you apply for your license, you have to answer to whether you’ve had any physical condition or incidents that would interfere with your ability to drive in the last two years.
If you answer yes, you have to get a form signed by a doctor that states that you’re fit to drive. There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule about the number of seizures that you can have in a period of time and still drive. However, if there’s any question about your fitness to drive, Department of Motor Vehicle officials may require you to submit to a detailed evaluation.
Does Your Doctor Have to Report a Medical Condition to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colorado?
No, your doctor doesn’t have to report a medical condition to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colorado. There is no mandatory reporting requirement for doctors in Colorado. Instead, it’s up to each person who applies for a license to certify their fitness to drive.
If your medical professional reports your disability in good faith, because they believe your driving ability is impaired, you can’t pursue civil or criminal action. In Colorado, a medical professional may only report your specific condition of their own volition if you disobeyed their medical advice.
Can You Be Denied a License Because of Seizures in Colorado?
Yes, you can be denied a license because of seizures in Colorado. In fact, the State of Colorado cancels and denies more than 1,200 licenses annually because of medical conditions. If there is a question about your ability to drive safely, you may need to submit a doctor’s certification to receive a license.
Are You Liable for a Car Accident Because of a Seizure?
Yes, you may be liable for a car accident because of a seizure. If you know about your health condition, it’s up to you to ensure that you’re safe to drive. All drivers have a duty to others on the road. Not only do you have a duty to drive safely, but you also have a duty to ensure that you’re physically fit to drive.
If you knew or should have known that a seizure was a possibility, you’re likely liable for an accident that results. If you know that you have seizures, and you choose to drive anyway, you’re behaving negligently. Any form of negligence that contributes to an accident may be grounds for legal liability.
Legal Liability for a Car Accident Because of Seizures in Colorado
Colorado is an at-fault state for accidents. That means the party who causes the accident is liable even if the injuries or property damage are only minor. If you cause an injury because of seizures in Colorado, there’s a good chance that you’re legally liable for the accident. The only exception is when you had no reasonable knowledge that a seizure could happen.
It all comes down to what’s reasonable. If it was unreasonable for you to take to the roads with your known medical condition, you’re legally liable. You can’t avoid legal liability just by saying you didn’t know. If a reasonable person would not have driven in your situation, there’s a good chance that the jury will find you responsible for the accident. It’s up to the jury to decide whether you behaved reasonably when you chose to drive based on your medical condition.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers
Were you in an accident that involved a seizure? Are you wondering what your rights are after being injured by a driver with a medical condition? Our attorneys can help.
The Bachus & Schanker, LLC attorneys dedicate their entire practice to helping accident victims. We can help you determine your rights and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at (303) 222-2222 to learn what you might stand to recover. Your call is free. Call us today.