An accident can cause significant injuries or be the result of a medical emergency, or both.

Assessment of the Accident Scene

First responders arrive and assess the scene. The actions of the responders will be dependent on their interpretation of their assessment.

The initial assessment of the cause of the accident as well as the medical status of the driver will have a significant impact on the treatment of the driver as well as a number of potential legal concerns for the driver later.

Was the Driver Injured in the Accident?

They find the driver who appears to be either confused or unconscious. The urgency of medical intervention is apparent. The driver appears to have been injured in the accident. The first responders provide care considering that the driver could have suffered a head injury in the accident.

Driving Intoxicated or Diabetic Emergency?

The same accident except the first responders smell a fruity breath on the driver. They continue to assess the driver for additional injuries but suspect the driver is intoxicated by alcohol. The accident itself begins to be blamed on this driver and the police collect evidence of the crime of driving under the influence.

This same driver could be assessed as having a diabetic emergency which would not be a crime. Misdiagnosing the driver as intoxicated could be life threatening.

Other Medical Events are Possible

The driver could have had a medical event such as a heart attack, stroke, or seizure that led to the accident. The possibility of these medical emergencies must be properly identified and treated by the first responders.

Legal Consequences of Driving with Certain Medical Conditions

Some medical events that occur while driving can lead to license suspension. California Vehicle Code 12806 allows the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend or revoke a driver’s license of those who have a medical or mental health condition that prevents the safe operation of a motor vehicle. This includes conditions that involve loss of consciousness, marked confusion, and the potential for recurrent relapses.


Simply having a history of some medical conditions does not automatically lead to license suspension. Many medical problems can be stabilized with proper treatment. Having an accident caused by a medical condition can lead to the DMV suspending a license. The licensee would have to appeal and present evidence that they can safely drive in order to continue driving.

Contact our firm if you are involved in an accident involving medical complications. We can help sort out the accident details and protect your rights.

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