A 64-year-old Illinois man was driving his car yesterday when he apparently had a heart attack, causing him to drive into a light pole, claims the Illinois State Police. The Chicago Sun-Times covered the story, reporting that the driver died an hour later, while his passenger was treated for minor injuries. Our Illinois car accident attorneys would like to extend our sympathy to the family of the man in dealing with their unfortunate loss.
Despite the near perfect storm of events causing an otherwise potentially preventable death, incidences such as this are not unheard of. This past February, another Illinois man, 46, died in a car crash caused by a heart attack. Also in February, an Arizona elementary school teacher, 64, experienced the same fate. Last May, Fenway Park announcer Carl Bean, 49, crashed his car as a result of an accident, subsequently dying as a result. In April, a month earlier, a chemistry professor from MSU had a nearly identical experience. Midway through 2011, a famous wrestler known as Macho Man, 58, also experienced the same unfortunate accident as the others.
Due the unique situation of these accidents, the impact on traffic fatality statistics is highly contextual. For example, non-fatal heart attacks that cause an accident are counted as traffic accident fatalities. Alternatively, fatal-heart attacks that cause an accident are not counted as traffic accident fatalities.
These types of accidents interested our Chicago car accident lawyers, seeing as complicated questions of legal liability arise. Again, the issues here are highly contextual. For example, if an unforeseeable emergency, such as a heart attack, causes an accident that injures another person, it is possible for the person who had the heart attack to defer liability. It would come down to the details of the case, and it is hard to say generally where legal liability would fall. However, if the person who had a heart attack has a history of heart conditions, or some other emergency health situation, then liability is very likely to fall on his shoulders. The reason being that he could have reasonably predicted, or anticipated, such a situation.
Conversely, there are situations in which the opposite set of events take place. In these cases, someone’s negligence is said to aggravate an unknown injury in the other person causing them severe damages. For example, someone rear-ends another driver, who has a heart condition, causing him to have a heart attack. In these cases something called the Eggshell Skull rule usually applies. The rule stems from the idea that if you hit someone lightly, but their skull is so fragile that it breaks when it normally should not have and could not have been expected to, then you are still liable for the damages done.
Legal philosopher H.L.A Hart surmises the lesson to be learned here in his highly influential book The Concept of Law. The law, he argues, cannot possibly be written to account for every possible concrete set of events that may arise. Judges and lawmakers are not omniscient.
The point is that there are complications in the law, and sometimes it is best to have an experienced lawyer to navigate through it to get you the best results, protection, and fairest treatment. Our team of Chicago car accident attorneys has experience in bringing justice to many clients in tough situations over the years. Should you or someone you love be injured or killed as a result of another’s negligence, each and every Illinois car accident lawyer at Levin & Perconti is available to inform you of what rights may be available.