The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles is well aware that many car accidents every year are caused by elderly drivers and drivers whom are impaired because of a medical condition. The DMV has required physicians by law to report to them if their patients’ driving ability is impaired. Not all people with medical issues are older drivers. Impaired driving may result from advanced age or a medical illness such as stroke or epilepsy. I have had a few cases where a driver is injured because someone crashes into them because they had a stroke while driving or the person who hit them had mixed up medical prescriptions. The issue which arises from a personal injury point of view is whether or not the at fault driver is responsible for the damages.
Who is responsible in an impaired injury case?
Many drivers in the state of Oregon and state of Washington don’t realize that a driver who suffers a stroke without a warning of its onset may escape liability 100% in an injury accident even if there is no question that they caused the car crash. Notice is an important area that should be rigorously investigated in stroke, elderly driving accidents, and mixed up medical prescription car accident injury cases.
Inquiry should be made into the persons medical history and an investigation should address whether the at fault driver who has had a stroke or suffered some medical condition like epilepsy or a reaction to prescription medication was aware or had notice of the problem or likelihood of the problem.
Was there notice?
A third variable to look at in impairment accident injury cases is whether the person’s doctor or health care professional was on notice of the problem. If a health care professional or doctor fails to report driving impairment to the state DMV they may be independently liable to you for the damage caused by the injury accident whether to the non fault driver, their passengers, or pedestrian bystanders who are injured.
If a doctor or other health care professional is on notice of the impairment, the limits of recovery may be greatly expanded in serious injury cases. Some health care professionals are required by state law to refer a driver to DMV when a driver’s impairment becomes severe or uncontrollable. Oregon State DMV may require medical information from the person’s doctor or may contact the driver for re-testing.
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