Help with spinal injury Legal frequently asked questions Would I get compensation for an accident caused by a driver who was unwell? Question: I was seriously injured in an accident about one year ago. I was sitting in my car which was parked next to a pavement. My wife was in the butcher’s shop and I was sitting in the car waiting for her to come back. All of a sudden, a car just crashed right into my parked car. It just seemed to come from nowhere. I was so badly injured that I was not able to speak to the driver after the accident. I was taken away to hospital in an ambulance. I have thought about making a claim for compensation, but I have heard locally that the driver had taken a hypoglycaemic (or diabetic) attack while driving and he cannot remember anything about the accident. Apparently, he had driven for two miles before his car hit mine! I suppose it was not the man’s fault that he had taken unwell while driving. Would compensation be paid if the man was unwell and couldn’t prevent his car crashing into mine? Answer: From what you say, yes, you are likely to succeed with a claim for compensation. The court would apply a test to determine whether the man was ‘driving’ at the time of the accident. The court would consider whether the man was in conscious control of the vehicle and whether his movements were voluntary. A number of cases like this have gone before the courts in the past, where the driver has pleaded a defence of ‘automatism’. This expression in law means a complete loss of consciousness. For a defence of automatism to succeed, there must be a total destruction of voluntary control on the part of the driver. Impaired, reduced or partial control is not enough for the defence to succeed. If the court finds that there has been some degree of control during the journey of the car, a defence of automatism is unlikely to succeed.That means that compensation will have to be paid to you.