Epilepsy & Driving: Liability for Seizure-Related Crashes

Man driving with medical conditionEpilepsy affects millions worldwide, including approximately three million individuals in the U.S. Given the potential for seizures and blackouts, it raises an important question: should people with epilepsy be allowed to drive? Moreover, can they be held liable for car accidents caused by seizures? At Roden Law, our dedicated car accident lawyers specialize in handling complex cases involving medical conditions or medication. If you’ve been involved in a seizure-related accident or experienced a seizure while driving, our knowledgeable attorneys can provide a free case evaluation to explain your rights and assess whether you’re eligible for compensation.

Dangers of Driving with Epilepsy/Seizures

Driving with epilepsy can pose significant risks, even if you’re currently taking medication to control your symptoms. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2015 that less than half of those on medication were seizure-free. An epileptic incident can occur at any time, and in the moments leading up to it and during a seizure, these are some of the symptoms that could impair your ability to drive safely:

  • Seizure-induced confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable body jerking
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Staring spells or feeling “spaced out”
  • Headaches
  • Temporary paralysis after a seizure
  • Memory lapses
  • Temporary loss of bowel control

Driver’s License Requirements for Seizures

In many states, individuals with epilepsy can obtain a driver’s license if they haven’t experienced a seizure within the last six months. Those who have seizures exclusively at night may be eligible for a limited license, permitting daytime driving, even if a seizure occurred within the previous six months. To learn more about the Epilepsy related Driving Laws in your state, click here to learn more.

Reporting Medical Limitations

Doctors may not be obligated to report patients with epilepsy, but they can report anyone with a known condition that impairs their ability to safely operate a vehicle. Additionally, concerned individuals such as relatives, courts, judges, law enforcement officers, or citizens can submit non-anonymous letters to express their concerns. The DMV may then require the individual to undergo a medical evaluation and provide documented proof of their ability to drive safely.

Determining Liability for a Crash Involving Seizures

If a person has a seizure and causes an accident, it doesn’t automatically make them legally responsible for the collision. Various factors come into play when determining liability, including the individual’s history of epileptic events or seizures, whether they were under the care of a doctor for epilepsy, and whether they had been seizure-free for at least six months. While a seizure’s involvement in the accident may attribute some fault to the person with the medical condition, the issue remains complex, particularly if they had no prior diagnosis or seizure history.

How Comparative Fault Comes into Play

Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence system to apportion fault between two or more parties whose negligence contributed to an accident. According to this system, if you were less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can still pursue compensation for the damages you sustained.

However, your level of recovery will be reduced by your fault percentage. For example, if you are found 10 percent liable for the accident, you can only receive 90 percent of the total value of your damages. If it is determined that you are more than 50 percent at-fault for the accident, you cannot recover any damages.

Call Us Right Now for Help with Your Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone experiencing a seizure or if you had a seizure while driving, it’s essential to seek the help of an attorney experienced in personal injury law. 

The dedicated legal team at Roden Law can review the circumstances surrounding your case and explain your rights to you. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you are charged nothing unless we recover compensation for your accident. Call us today to schedule a confidential and complimentary consultation.