Car Accident When Driving While Sick! Is It Negligence?

Car Accident When Driving While Sick! Is It Negligence?

We all fall sick at some point in time. But is it possible to become so sick that you are unable to drive? What if there is a car accident while driving in such a condition? Is it considered negligence by law? There is more than a single study that has found out that even the effects of the common cold may impair your driving ability by up to 50%. This is the same as 8 pegs of whiskey.

It does not matter what your driving abilities are. Whether they are on par with a drunk driver or not is another matter. It is a fact that we all feel bad when we are sick. Loss of concentration, fatigue, headache, and other such symptoms that are associated with the common ailments can definitely impair your capability to drive and it can lead to a car accident. Some medical conditions can also impair your ability to drive on the roads and in fact, some of them make it extremely dangerous. Taking certain prescribed medications can also lead to making things unsafe for driving.


While you examine the risks of a car accident while driving sick it may be significant to examine the risks of two other dangerous behaviors. Driving under the influence of alcohol and distracted driving. The NSC or National Safety Council defines the distractions while driving as something that takes the mind of the driver away from the road. These are also termed as cognitive and visual distractions and there are manual distractions to be considered as well such as taking your hands off the wheel. The various effects of driving while sick fall under one of these categories.

  • Difficulty in focusing after being ill for some period.
  • Sneezing and coughing while driving.
  • Reaching for a pill bottle or tissue paper while driving.
  • Looking up for directions or calling the doctor.

Similarly, other kinds of illnesses cause temporary or permanent impairments which are similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Whether this problem is as severe as that of spending a night at a bar or not is another issue. There are some more risks while driving in sickness and they include,

  • Hampered decision-making ability.
  • Fatigue, drowsiness, and falling asleep while driving.
  • Incapability to concentrate on driving.

What to do when hit by a sick driver?

1. Call 911: The first thing to do like in case of all car accidents is calling 911. When the officer who answers the phone arrives on the scene you can provide the details that are requested and then ensure that you get a copy of the accident report. If the police officer notices that the driver is sick and if he files this fact under his report it may help you file a financial compensation claim.

2. Take Photos: You can take many photos of the accident area. Document all the damage to both vehicles and the place where the accident happened. You should do this regardless of whether a driver is sick or whether there is some other factor involved such as distractions leading to the car accident. You will need the evidence to prove that the sick person was to blame for the car accident.

3. Note all important information: Takedown all the insurance and vehicle information of the driver. Note the factors that make you believe that the driver was sick. Was he sneezing or coughing excessively? Did he appear to have a fever? Did he admit to being under the influence of prescribed medicine? The more information you have for the records the better it will be for you.

When you are injured in an accident you can contact an attorney about your legal rights. If a driver is incapable of controlling his or her vehicle and make the right decisions behind the wheel it makes the person dangerous for everyone else on the road. So, although it might not necessarily be illegal to drive while being sick, it certainly can constitute a kind of negligence. Rojas Law Group has an established record for this kind of legal counseling. You can contact the firm if you need representation.

Picture Credit: Pixabay