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5 Health Problems That Can Increase Your Risk of a Crash

In many car accident cases, injuries are caused by negligent drivers speeding, driving aggressively, or not paying attention to the road. However, some car accidents can also be caused by medical emergencies brought on by health conditions that impact a driver’s ability to control their vehicle.

With a total of 128, 296 crashes, including 35, 676 injuries and 595 deaths in Wisconsin in 2021, all drivers need to be aware of the increased risk of danger due to health issues and who might be liable for a medical emergency crash.


Seizures are involuntary, sudden brain function changes resulting from abnormal electrical activity. They can cause various symptoms, from confusion and memory loss to loss of consciousness. This can greatly impair a driver’s ability to control a vehicle. In the most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study on medical conditions and collisions, seizures were involved in 35% of them for a total of 17,222 accidents. 

In Wisconsin, it is illegal for drivers with known seizure conditions to operate a vehicle within 90 days of the most recent episode. If you are hurt by a driver who suffered a seizure, liability depends on whether they have a seizure diagnosis disorder and broke Wisconsin law or took appropriate steps to manage the condition.

Cardiovascular Problems

Cardiovascular problems, such as arrhythmias, heart attacks, or low blood pressure, can cause fainting or loss of consciousness. This can be extremely dangerous while driving, as it may lead to losing control of the vehicle. According to the NHTSA, heart attacks played a part in 5,288 crashes, or 11% of accidents, between 2005 and 2007.

Those with known cardiovascular conditions must take precautions when driving. This can include taking their required medications and knowing how they may affect their driving abilities to prevent an accident.

Neurodegenerative Conditions

Neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, can significantly impair cognitive and motor functions, making driving more challenging or even impossible. One study found that people with dementia have a 2 to 18 times higher risk of involvement in a motor vehicle accident than the general population.

The Wisconsin DMV requires drivers to submit a Medical Examination Report and knowledge or skills tests to receive a license. This means that a person who suffers from a neurodegenerative contusion may be responsible for your injuries if they cause an accident and have not followed DMV guidelines for their situation.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia, can impact a motorist’s ability to drive safely by causing excessive daytime sleepiness and reduced alertness. Drowsy driving was responsible for 633 deaths nationwide in 2020, making operating a vehicle while fatigued a significant risk factor.

If drowsy driving is a factor in a crash, the driver may be responsible, even if a medical condition causes their sleepiness. They may be liable for your damages if they knew they felt tired and got behind the wheel anyway.


Diabetes, a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels, can affect an individual’s ability to drive safely if not properly managed. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to sudden drops in blood sugar levels, causing dizziness, confusion, or even loss of consciousness.

The NHTSA survey found that a diabetic reaction was responsible for 9,963 crashes, or about 20%. This makes diabetes a significant risk factor for drivers with the condition. If someone causes your injuries due to a diabetic complication, they may be liable for not taking appropriate steps to manage the condition.

When is a Driver Liable for a Crash Caused by a Health Condition?

Under Wisconsin law, all drivers must exercise reasonable care when driving.

If a driver has a known health condition that could affect their ability to drive safely, such as a history of seizures, and they continue to drive without taking appropriate precautions or seeking medical treatment, they may be considered negligent.

Additionally, if a driver suffers a sudden medical emergency while driving, such as a heart attack or stroke, and causes an accident as a result, they may still be liable if they knew or should have known about the medical condition and failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the accident, such as pulling over to the side of the road or seeking medical attention.

Liability in these cases depends on each case’s specific facts and circumstances. If you have been involved in an accident where a driver’s health condition may have contributed, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.

Take Control of Your Health and Drive Safely

Understanding and managing health conditions is crucial for maintaining safe driving abilities. Drivers should consult healthcare professionals and take necessary precautions to minimize accident risks.

If you were injured by a driver who experienced a medical emergency or failed to manage their chronic health condition, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact a Green Bay car accident lawyer today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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