MARCH 2021

The LCA has continued to collaborate with Hempsons solicitors to bring interesting and prevalent medico-legal discussions to the virtual breakfast table throughout this pandemic. We are hopeful that our latest meetings will be the last conducted over Zoom and that the rendez-vous in September will be face-to-face.

Our last meeting discussed matters such as: legal defence of automatism in road traffic accidents – this is where someone cannot be held responsible for their actions if they have no knowledge of the accident. This particular meeting was led by Dr Duncan Dymond who presented two different cases and raised the following points:

  • Automatism can arise where a person experiences a total loss of control through no fault of their own. The consequences of a total loss of control in road traffic accidents can be catastrophic and even fatal. Examples of what might constitute an automatism defence include an epileptic fit and a hypoglycaemic attack.
  • Currently, there is no scheme in the UK to compensate victims of genuine Automatism and so a person who is injured through no fault of their own has no recourse to be compensated for what are often serious injuries.

The two cases that were analysed consisted of:

  1. a 60-year old male who was struck by a school mini-bus driver that had careered down the road across a roundabout, who claimed to have blacked out at the wheel and had no recollection of the event; and
  2. a married man with children who was walking his dog when he was slammed into a driveway by a driver who had passed out at the wheel.

In both cases the legal defence of “Automatism” was pursued and you may read the details of both cases in the presentation below.



Take care and stay safe.