accidentReno, NV- Police suspect that the driver who crashed into a Reno home last month, killing two young people, inside suffered a medical event which caused him to lose control of his SUV.
The accident occurred on June 22nd around noon in a neighborhood just south of downtown Reno when 66-year old Sheldon Berg lost control of his SUV and plowed into a family’s modest home, killing a 2-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl inside the vehicle. Berg’s SUV came to a stop in the backyard.
Police have not charged Berg with the crash because they suspect he suffered a non-specified medical event at the time of the crash.
NBC 4i reports that Berg was required to submit a doctor’s note giving him permission to driver to the DMV yearly after he was involved in a 2013 accident also caused by a medical event. Berg struck two unoccupied cars and was the only one injured in that crash.
As a result of that crash, Berg’s license was suspended and wasn’t reinstated until March of this year with same requirement he provide a yearly doctor’s note to the DMV. But that wasn’t the first time his license was suspended.
DMV records obtained by the Associated Press show that Berg’s license was suspended a total of 6 times since 2002. None of those suspensions were related to criminal charges and in each case, Berg went through the proper processes to have his license reinstated.
This accident brings up the subject of a driver’s liability when they cause a car accident because they suffered a medical event. Many traffic accidents have a clear-cut causes such as speeding or intoxication, so liability is easy to establish. The same cannot be said of accidents that occur when the driver suffers a medical event.
Since medical events are considered to be Acts of God, a motorist who suffers one and causes an accident may not be considered liable. Most states, Nevada included, accepts the “sudden medical emergency defense.” Such a defense is based on the premise that driver is not negligent when they suffer a medical event because the event was out of their control.
The “sudden medical emergency defense” was established by the Ohio Supreme Court in the 50s for the case, Lehman v.  Haynam. In that decision the high court said, “Where the driver of an automobile is suddenly stricken by a period of unconsciousness which he had no reason to anticipate and which renders it impossible for him to control the car he is driving, he is not chargeable with negligence as to such lack of control.”
Fortunately for accident victims, a “sudden medical emergency defense” doesn’t bar them from seeking compensation from a driver but it does make it more complicated and far more challenging. Such cases should be put in the capable hands of an accident lawyer with a comprehensive knowledge of the Nevada’s personal injury laws.
USAttorneys strongly recommends that all accident victims speak with a personal injury attorney in Reno before making any decisions about how to settle their case. You could sell yourself short and be denied a just settlement without expert legal advice.

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