Recently, the residents of a small apartment building on West Drexel Avenue in San Antonio received a rude awakening when a pickup truck crashed into the building. The driver allegedly claimed no knowledge of how he got there, and law enforcement saw no evidence of alcohol or other substances. Currently, the incident is being explained by the driver suffering a medical episode. However, if you ever are in this type of situation, it can be extremely confusing and disconcerting, especially if medical episodes are a common thing for you. It can ease your mind to have a clear picture of your liability compared to others.
Negligence Requires Voluntary Action
Torts are basically the civil equivalent of crimes, and if someone has committed a tort under Texas law, it can generally be held that they have acted negligently. In most car accident cases, at least one of the drivers can be shown to have been negligent in their actions, and negligence is what most often triggers liability. In other words, if a plaintiff can show that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care in their actions, they may wind up being held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and suffering.
However, if someone has a medical episode while driving, in theory, they have not been negligent because the medical episode was not a conscious action they chose to make. Negligence requires conscious, voluntary action (or inaction) - in other words, a person has to knowingly act in a specific way before they can be accused of negligence. Having a medical episode is not an “action” - it is something that one’s body or brain does on its own. The question after this type of accident is usually whether or not anyone at all can be held liable....