An unfortunate car accident occurred this past Tuesday in Florosa. Northwest Florida Daily News reported two people were transported with serious injuries after a three vehicle crash this past Tuesday morning. A 2005 Chevy Silverado driven by a Missouri man was driving east on U.S. Highway 98 near Club 51 around 9 a.m. Tuesday. He was trying to turn left onto a paved median break when he was rear-ended by 53-year-old man from Gulf Breeze driving a 2012 Hyundai Tucson. The impact from the 2012 Hyundai Tucson caused the Silverado to overturn on its roof. The Tucson then swerved into the outside lane and impacted a 2005 Harley Sportster ridden by a 32-year-old man of Navarre, which fell on its side, ejecting the driver. A group of airmen wearing special operations uniforms, who were driving by, stopped at the scene to help the injured motorists. According to FHP, the driver of the Hyundai suffered “a medical condition” at the time of the crash. He was transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center with serious injuries. The driver of the Silverado suffered minor injuries, as did the driver of the Harley. Two passengers in the Silverado received injuries that needed treatment at local hospitals. FHP is investigating the accident.
Now, the question will be whether or not the driver of the Tucson had a valid medical condition and therefore is not liable for the accident. Under Florida law, a driver cannot be held negligent if he/she suddenly loses consciousness due to an unexpected medical cause. Florida appellate courts have upheld this defense as recently as February of 2014 in the ruling of Marcum v. Hayward. The Second District Court of Appeal found a woman not liable for causing an accident, since she, as the defendant, proved the following elements:
- The defendant suffered a loss of consciousness or capacity.
- The loss of consciousness or capacity occurred before the defendant’s purportedly negligent conduct
- The loss of consciousness was sudden.
- The loss of consciousness or capacity was neither foreseen, nor foreseeable.
On the other hand, if an individual has a medical condition that is foreseeable and could cause problem while driving, then this person could be held liable for an accident. Thus, a thorough investigation should be made which includes reviewing an individual’s medical history of suffering a medical condition, and their prior history of suffering from a loss of consciousness.
Nevertheless, we at Brannon & Brannon hope and pray for a speedy recovery for all those who were injured in this tragic accident.