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I’ve written about it before. The defense bar never ceases to surprise. Affirmative defenses–legal tools to avoid taking responsibility–seem to be multiplying and mutating. The sudden medical emergency defense is an example. And it is frequently applied to situations like the really tragic one we blogged about here on December 17th.

To recap, a jogger was hit and killed by a motorist last Saturday in Renton, Washington. The 37-year old was jogging along the northbound lanes of Duvall Avenue Northeast when a southbound car drifted across four lanes of traffic and struck the jogger from behind. The car then went down an embankment. The 34-year old driver sustained injuries.

The investigation is going to be very important. If the driver had a heart attack or even suffered a fit of coughing or sneezing, the defense attorneys (for both the liability and UIM carriers) will take a hard line that the driver is not liable for the death of the unfortunate jogger.

How do you feel? At what point should the consequences of a medical emergency become the driver’s responsibility?

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