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Driver Blames Pile-Up Tragedy on ‘Automatism’

Published: 22 December 2014, in categories: Personal Injury Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

In an extremely rare, if not unique, example of an ‘automatism’ defence being raised in a civil compensation case, a businessman claims that he was 'sleep-driving' when he caused a motorway pile-up - seriously injuring a promising student.

The man is being sued for substantial damages by the student, who suffered brain damage in the accident in which he almost died. However, defence lawyers insist that a sudden bout of sickness caused the driver to black out and lose control. They argue that he cannot therefore be held responsible for the tragedy.

Even if he was in a ‘state of automatism’, which is disputed, the student’s lawyers say that that should not stand in the way of their client being compensated as an innocent party. The businessman was at the time driving to an emergency medical appointment after falling ill during a work conference and the student’s legal team argues that he was unfit to drive and should never have got behind the wheel in the first place. The High Court hearing continues.

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