Automatism defence overturned by evidence suggesting driver was speeding | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Automatism defence overturned by evidence suggesting driver was speeding

In a complicated case he took over from another law firm who determined it would not succeed, Mark achieved settlement for a man who lost his leg after he was hit by a motorist who passed out at the wheel of his car.

Our client Ricky, who is married with two children, was walking his dog when the driver ploughed into him, slamming him into the wall of a drive way.

Ricky was so severely injured, he required immediate below the knee amputation of his left leg St George’s Hospital in Tooting, later revised to above the knee amputation. He also sustained serious injuries to his right leg including multiple fractures of the right side of his pelvis, a fractured right femur and tibia, a laceration to his right lower leg as well as damage to the sciatic nerve, resulting in permanent foot drop.

Ricky, who previously worked as a controller at Network Rail, has been left severely disabled. He spent 12 weeks in the Roehampton Rehabilitation Centre before being released home into rented accommodation.

He needed ongoing therapy to help with outbursts of anger and panic, grief, not just for the loss of his leg but for his diminished life, sleeping and waking nightmares and mistrust of other people. He suffers from acute fear of traffic, crowds, and a perceived threat from others meaning to harm him.

His determination means he has since managed to return to work, although in a diminished role. 

Ricky approached Mark after being advised to get a second opinion. In cases where the defence is automatism, that is, where the defendant has passed out behind the wheel, he cannot be held responsible.

However, taking on the case, Mark further investigated and settlement of more than £1m was reached based on evidence that the driver might have been speeding.  

Following settlement, Ricky said he had been pessimistic in approaching Mark having been told by the previous law firm that they couldn’t help him.

“We called Mark and thought that he would probably not even take the case on. He did, and as we worked with him our trust and optimism were restored... He never once forgot the terrible trauma I had suffered and what this meant to me. Mark’s humanity, hard work and commitment to my case is something that we will always remember and we will always hold him in the highest regard.”

Contact us

For further information about road traffic accident claims and amputation claims, please call Mark Bowman on 0330 460 6794 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.