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Case Study 2. Falling asleep at the wheel

An employee was recently flung from his van after momentarily falling asleep at the wheel. The employee was paralysed and will not walk again for the rest of his life. He can now sue his employers for damages expected to exceed £1 million.

The Court of Appeal decided that he was “in that predicament because his employers had put him there”.

His final reward award will be reduced by 33% because of his own contributory negligence in not wearing a seatbelt, and knowing he was at risk of falling asleep after working for 19 hours without a break.

The Court of Appeal decided that he was “in that predicament because his employers had put him there”.

A spokesman for the Fleet Safety Association said that although the driver himself made no attempt whatsoever to manage the risk he was exposing himself to, it appears that the employer encouraged a risk-taking approach to driving. A statement from the driver’s manager stating that “eating is cheating and you can sleep when you are dead” supported this.