Ben has been acting recently for a client in a tragic case that throws up novel legal arguments within the realm of personal injury law.
Background to the case.
Mrs A was travelling as a front seat passenger of a car being driven by Mr B when he suddenly lost consciousness causing him to crash into vehicles parked by the side of the road overturning his vehicle. Mrs A sadly died in hospital three days later as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. Mr B was also taken to hospital where he was found to have suffered minor injuries in the accident and also a stroke. Mrs A’s son approached Ben to see if the family would be able to claim compensation for Mrs A’s death.
Can a claim against the driver be made?
If a driver has a medical incident at the wheel that causes them to have an accident then if they had no prior warning of the medical condition, and the loss of function was spontaneous, they would have a valid defence as they had not been in control of their actions when the accident occurred.
Proving that the accident was preventable by investigating previous medical conditions.
However, in this scenario further investigations revealed that Mr B had suffered previous unexplained loss of consciousness on occasions the previous 18 months and that he was seeking medical treatment regarding this. Furthermore, when he arrived at hospital after the accident Mr B told a Doctor that he had suffered from weakness in his left hand prior to setting off driving that day.
Ben was able to argue successfully that Mr B ought reasonably to have been aware that due to his medical condition he should not have been driving and that the accident – and therefore Mrs A’s death – was entirely preventable. An admission of liability and damages were obtained on the family’s behalf.
Do you know whether it is safe to drive?
This case shows the importance of always checking with a medical professional when in doubt as to whether you are safe to drive. Failing to follow medical advice can leave you liable for both civil and criminal action.
Ben Davey is a personal injury specialist and acted in this matter under a ‘no win no fee’ arrangement. He is always happy to advise possible new clients free of charge. He can be contacted on 01273 249287 or firstname.lastname@example.org.