Auto AccidentMassachusetts Appellate Court Upholds Summary Judgment for Defendant in High-Speed Accident Involving a Medical Emergency

October 23, 20200

High-speed car accidents are incredibly dangerous for everyone involved. Unfortunately, they often lead to fatalities. If you were injured or lost someone you love due to a high-speed accident, you can bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim to recover compensation for your loss. This process can seem incredibly overwhelming during a time of stress and shock. The compassionate and experienced Boston car accident lawyers at Mass Injury Group are available to help you through this difficult time.

Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal issued an opinion that involved a high-speed accident. The defendant was driving her vehicle when she had a seizure. It was later discovered that the defendant had a brain tumor. The vehicle continued on the roadway even as the passenger tried to wake the defendant. Eventually, the defendant’s vehicle collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle. Emergency responders concluded that the defendant was showing signs of having suffered a seizure. The passengers in the plaintiff’s vehicle sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash.

Before the accident, the plaintiff had not seen a doctor for nearly 30 years. She experienced a few headaches during her lifetime and reported having a headache on the day before the accident. Medical experts for both parties concluded that the defendant experienced a medical emergency behind the wheel due to the brain tumor, which was diagnosed at the hospital following the crash.


Neither expert witness testified that the medical emergency was preventable or that it would have been diagnosed had the defendant seen a doctor for her headache the prior day. The trial court eventually granted summary judgment for the defendant on the basis that the defendant was not negligent and was suffering a medical emergency. The plaintiff appealed on the basis that there was a genuine question of material fact regarding whether the defendant regained enough consciousness to control the vehicle. The expert witness for the plaintiff offered testimony on this subject suggesting that there may have been a moment where the plaintiff was able to control the vehicle.

The appellate court upheld summary judgment for the defendant on the basis that the plaintiff’s expert was engaging in mere speculation about what the defendant did or did not experience after the seizure. A mere guess or conjecture is not enough to form the basis of a fact according to Massachusetts’ standard for summary judgment. The appellate court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the seizure was foreseeable because the defendant had a headache the day prior to the accident. Just because the defendant experienced a headache does not necessarily mean that she would suffer a seizure soon thereafter.

If you were injured in a high-speed accident, you probably have questions about your legal options. At Mass Injury Group, we proudly serve victims of car accidents in Boston. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online. During this free and confidential consultation, we will discuss your legal rights and how we can assist you with asserting them to the fullest extent.

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