Every individual in the United States who purchases and registers a vehicle is involved with the automobile insurance industry. Like many other types of insurance, there is much longstanding debate regarding the difficulty associated with receiving the benefits one has paid for. This debate is particularly complicated in Connecticut. Unlike many other jurisdictions that have a no-fault automobile insurance system, Connecticut relies on a tort-based liability system for determining compensation for an injured party.
In Connecticut, when a driver or passenger is injured in a car accident as a result of the actions of another driver, damages are recovered by proving legal liability. Connecticut courts currently allow a defendant and their insurer to escape liability if the defendant driver caused the accident due to a ‘medical emergency’. When a defendant proves that they suffered a ‘medical emergency’, the plaintiff is also barred from recovering underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage under their own insurance policy. The injured person is left with the financial burden, despite the fact that both parties were covered by insurance.
This Note argues that Connecticut should, either through legislation or regulation, disallow automobile insurance companies from taking advantage of the Sudden Medical Emergency Defense as a way to deny providing coverage after an automobile accident. This would allow a plaintiff who was injured due to the incapacitation caused by a sudden medical emergency of another driver to recover from the other driver’s insurance company, up to their policy limits, and from their own insurance company if uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage applies.
Caitrin Ellen Kiley, The Sudden Medical Emergency Defense in Connecticut: Insurers Benefit While The Innocent Insured Is Left To Suffer (2021) 43 Western New England Law Review 78 (2021).