What to do if my son had a seizure while driving and collided into the side of of motor home, then ran into a telephone pole?

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What to do if my son had a seizure while driving and collided into the side of of motor home, then ran into a telephone pole?

He is 21 years old. Our car insurance only had $25,000 coverage on damage to vehicles involved. The insurance company totaled the motor home which was valued at $45,000. They have hired an attorney to seek the difference. I didn’t think the motor home should have been totaled but I was told that the damage made the motor home non-repairable for safety reasons. Do I have any course of action to avoid this situation??

Asked on April 4, 2014 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can refuse to pay their claim and fight it: to have a chance of prevailing, however, you'd have to show, with expert testimony (e.g. some safety expert; a mechanic who works on motor homes; a motor home dealer; etc.) one or both of the following:

1) There was no need to total it--it could have been repaired safely for less than the totalled value; and/or

2) Even if it was correct to total the motor home, its then-current fair  market value (which is what the value of totalling it) was less than $45,000.

Of course, even you can do 1) or 2), that will reduce what they can recover, but not eliminate all liability.

The only way you might be able to eliminate all liability would be if you could show that your son had no history of seizures, had not had or been aware of any medical conditions that could cause a seizure; was not taking any medicine or drugs which could cause a seizure; etc. If you can show the seizure came "out of the blue" without any warning or reason to be wary whatsoever, then you may be able to show that he was not negligent, or careless, and thus not at fault--he'd have no reasons to take any precautions (such as not driving) if he had no reason to even suspect he might seize. You'd need a medical expert for this, which could be expensive. If there was any warning or risk signs for a seizure, then your son would most likely be liable.


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