A man who collapsed drunk in the middle of the road, and was then run into by a driver who promptly suffered a heart attack has been absolved from paying the driver over €13,000 in damages.
The driver, identified as ‘João Silva’, has had to live on medication since the incident.
He was awarded compensation to the tune of €13,751 from his victim – who survived the ordeal even though he was projected some distance.
But his victim’s defence went on the attack, claiming João’s lifestyle was much more the cause of his heart attack than the accident.
And now appeal court judges in Évora have agreed.
Their ruling that a “person licensed to drive must have the capacity to deal with stress” may strike a chord of fear in all drivers who are heavy smokers, overweight and/ or generally lead a much too sedentary lifestyle.
This is how João Silva was described. He was also apparently ‘already on medication for high blood pressure’.
Thus the doctors’ bills Silva had hoped to have reimbursed – along with the added amount for ‘damages’ – have eluded him, unless his lawyers try an appeal to a higher court.
The incident happened in Golegã exactly four years ago.
The victim, described only as ‘Joaquim’, was on his way back to nearby Chamusca after a night of heavy drinking at the Feira de São Martinho.
He collapsed in the middle of the EN243, causing one car to swerve to avoid him, and the vehicle driven by João Silva to hit him “just as he was trying to get up”.
João Silva told the court that he felt “enormous fear and anxiety” and thought he was going to die while suffering his heart attack.
He went on to spend 10 days in hospital and undergo an angioplasty.
Reports do not explain what Joaquim felt after being knocked over and projected into a ditch. His blood alcohol level was pegged at 1.9 gm/ litre – essentially about three times over the legal limit allowed for driving, but not limited by law for pedestrians.
A quick online search identifies Namibia as a rare country that has run a “Don’t drink and walk’ campaign.
In 2017, pedestrians there were subjected to breathalyzer testing in a bid to crack down on alcohol-related road deaths.
In the US, the Washington Post wrote only last year about the “thousands of inebriated pedestrians” who had been killed walking erratically in roads after dark, saying: “while there are lots of programs designed to reduce drunken driving and improve pedestrian safety, there’s little out there aimed at impaired walkers”.