WEAR Channel 3 reports a medical emergency caused a driver to run a red light and hit another vehicle. On Saturday morning, a 45-year-old female was driving northbound on Palafox approaching Brent Lane when she suffered a medical emergency and ran a red light. Her 2010 Chevy Equinox hit a 53-year-old male’s 2014 Chevy Equinox. The impact was so significant the 2014 Chevy Equinox rolled over on its right side and hit a highway and car wash signs. The female was taken to Baptist Hospital with serious injuries, however, her 16-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries. As of now, the 53-year-old male has reported only minor injuries.
In Florida, suffering a medical episode, losing consciousness or becoming incapacitated, is not in and of itself negligence. Feagle v. Purvis, 891 So.2d 1096 (Fla. App. 2004). In Feagle, the operator of an airboat (Purvis) “slumped over” causing the boat to strike a swimmer. It was determined the airboat operator died suddenly from atherosclerotic heart disease. In order to establish the defense of sudden and unexpected loss of consciousness, the defendant must prove the following:
1.The defendant suffered a loss of consciousness or capacity. See, e.g., Bridges v. Speer, 79 So.2d 679, 681 (Fla. 1955); Wilson v. The Krystal Co., 844 So.2d 827 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).
2.The loss of consciousness or capacity occurred before the defendant’s purportedly negligent conduct. Malcolm v. Patrick, 147 So.2d 188, 193 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1962).
3.The loss of consciousness was sudden. Baker v. Hausman, 68 So.2d 572, 573 (Fla. 1953); Malcolm, supra.
4.The loss of consciousness or capacity was neither foreseen, nor foreseeable. See, e.g., Baker, supra; Wilson, supra; Wingate v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n., 480 So.2d 665 (Fla. 5th DCA 1986); Malcolm, supra.