Fatal accident claim after no criminal prosecutions

Woman looking out of window

Simon Hammond, Partner at Digby Brown Solicitors, is investigating a fatal accident claim on behalf of Mrs Miller after the death of her husband in a road traffic accident.

James Miller died after lorry driver John Power crashed into the side of his car.

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) concluded on Friday 12th January and criticised a medical expert for letting Mr Power stay on the road despite knowing of previous blackouts. In the determination, Sheriff Peter Paterson advised Mr Power not to drive a vehicle of any type. However, no criminal prosecution is expected.

Mrs Miller contacted Digby Brown in a bid to find justice in the civil courts over the tragedy. She said: “I’m glad the FAI found fault with those involved.

This man Power reported blackouts to his GP – so why was he allowed to keep driving?

“He shouldn’t have been allowed on the road at all, not just have restrictions put in place on the kind of vehicle he drove.

“What makes it worse is these exact same issues were highlighted a year before James died because of the Glasgow bin lorry incident.

“And just like Harry Clarke, this man Power, his doctor and employer have all dodged prosecution.

“Our family has been devastated by this incident – it should never have been allowed to happen, and however you dress it up those responsible are literally getting away with killing someone.”

The FAI heard Mr Power had been advised by his doctor "not to drive a HGV" after suffering two "disabling attacks" in June and October 2015.

The hearing also heard Mr Power’s employer – J Dickinson Transport Ltd – felt it was safe to keep him behind the wheel as they received a letter from Dr Davies of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust saying a DVLA technicality meant Mr Power’s pre-1997 license allowed him to stay on the road despite suffering dizzy turns so long as he switched from an HGV to an LGV.

In his determination, Sheriff Peter Paterson said Dr Davies should have more fully considered the DVLA guidance and advised Mr Power not to drive a vehicle of any type.

He then urged doctors to decide if a patient is fit to drive in any way and not just consider what kind of licence they hold.

You can find more information about the FAI in various publications including the Daily Record, Southern Reporter and BBC.