Client Story: Is Diabetic Shock a Defense in a Car Crash?
A Story of Denial and Disaster
Our nice, middle-aged client was driving through an intersection when her car was suddenly struck by another vehicle barreling through a red light. The force was enough to spin her car into the next lane where it was hit a second time. Our client sustained numerous injuries including fractures in her neck that required fusion surgery. Before running the red light the driver managed to hit another vehicle, drive onto an exit ramp, and plow through a snow bank. Our client didn’t expect to be hit by a car as she legally drove through the intersection, yet the defendent’s insurance company was denying liability! They claimed the defendent had an unavoidable medical emergency. She came to GoldenbergLaw seeking to answer the question so many victims of negligence ask – what should I do?
The driver of the other vehicle had gone into diabetic shock. Diabetic shock is the result of blood sugar dropping to a level that is dangerously low. This can often be the result of not eating enough, exercising too much, or drinking alcohol without eating food. If someone is entering a diabetic shock they become dizzy, shaky, sweaty, anxious, and irritable. If nothing is done to even out blood sugar levels, the individual becomes severely confused and can lose consciousness. Doctors often take care to educate diabetics about the signs and symptoms that arise if blood sugar levels are not carefully monitored. But is diabetic shock a defense for causing a car accident?
In the case of the driver who hit our client, we challenged this defense and litigated the case. After taking depositions and examining records, we proved the defendent had been diabetic for all of his adult life and aware of the signs and symptoms associated with low blood sugar levels. On this particular day, he woke up with extremely low blood sugar levels, something unusual for him, but did nothing to remedy the issue throughout the day. In fact he had not checked his levels for many hours. He got behind the wheel with these low levels and went into diabetic shock while traveling at highway speeds.
To further challenge this defense we obtained a diabetes expert report which stated: “Just like someone who has had too much to drink, the defendent chose to get behind the wheel with diminished capacity.” This ultimately led to the defendent’s insurance company paying their policy limits and our client recovering the Underinsured Motorist (UIM) limits as well.
In this case, diabetic shock was not a defense.
We have successfully resolved thousands of car, truck, pedestrian, and bicycle collisions including a number of settlements over $1 million dollars and over 50 jury trials. We pride ourselves in understanding and finding all available insurance coverages. Please call us if you have been seriously injured in an automobile accident at 612-333-4662.