In September, I was on my side of a dual carriageway on my Firestorm. A Landrover came across from other side and hit me knocking me off and injuring me. The driver of the Landrover blamed his swerve on a bee sting and his lawyers are arguing I have no case due to no negligence on the other driver due to the sting which was not his fault. He was apparently transporting a hive. Are they right – it does not seem fair to me?
Dan, by e-mail
The Defendant’s lawyers are relying on a legal defence known as “automatism.” This is where someone cannot be held responsible for their actions if they had no knowledge of them. For example sleep walking or having an epileptic fit out of the blue whilst driving. The Defendant has to show that his total lack of control was through no fault of his own. Had he not been transporting a hive and simply got stung then I suspect his defence would succeed. However, the fact that he was transporting a hive may give you something to go on.
I have done a little research on transporting hives and apparently the vibration from a moving vehicle can aggravate the bees and make them more likely to sting people so you could argue that it was reasonably foreseeable that he may get stung and he should have contained them more safely.
Currently there is no scheme in the UK (unlike, e.g. in New Zealand) to compensate victims of automatism so a person injured through no fault of their own has no recourse to compensation.