Ramsbottom drove into Roberts as she was emerging from her car, injuring her, her daughter, and wrecking her car. Shortly before he had rear-ended a van and knocked a boy off his bicycle. He had had a minor stroke that caused him to lose control of his actions, which was responsible for these actions. He had no reason to expect that he had had a stroke as he had never had any previous symptoms and did not realize at the time that he was unfit to drive. Ramsbottom is claiming that he was acting reasonably and not responsible for his actions as a reasonable person would not expect to be impaired in this way.
- Was the defendant acting reasonably, or would a reasonable person have realized what was happening and not driven?
- Was the damage sustained to the claimant reasonably foreseeable?
Judgment for the plaintiff.
Neill says that Ramsbottom would escape liability if his actions were deemed to be completely beyond his control, but if he had some control, then he is held liable even if he was objectively below the required standard to drive. He finds that the man did not have a total loss of consciousness, and thus he is liable in negligence. The judge finds Ramsbottom liable for his driving in the accident at hand and further states that he would also be liable on the grounds that he should have realized his unfitness to drive after the previous accidents.
In order to escape from liability in negligence on the basis of not having control of your actions, you must prove a total loss of control (such as unconsciousness).