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Legal Aspects of Epilepsy and Epilepsy and Driving 

Legal Aspects of Epilepsy and Epilepsy and Driving
Legal Aspects of Epilepsy and Epilepsy and Driving

Morris Odell

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date: 27 June 2022

A diagnosis of epilepsy or behaviour occurring during a seizure may have major medico-legal implications. The two main areas where this can occur are in determination of intent for alleged criminal actions, and in determination of fitness to drive or undertake similarly dangerous activities. This chapter explores the issues surrounding epileptic automatisms and criminal behaviour. In most cases it is difficult or impossible to form intent for certain actions while suffering from a major incapacitating seizure even though ictal and post-ictal actions may appear to occur in an organized fashion. Driving is a complex and potentially dangerous activity requiring intact cognitive and psycho-motor skills. The potential for epileptic seizures to incapacitate drivers and precipitate crashes has led to a complex set of regulations which vary between jurisdictions and may involve clinicians in legal proceedings. This chapter discusses the clinical approach to assessing fitness to drive of patients with epilepsy.

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