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Road Accident Injury Claims: An Update

 

James McNally a specialist accident claim solicitor in our Personal Injury department looks at the some of the latest Court decisions in road accident claims.

Every good student of the Highway Code knows that safe drivers should keep a minimum of a 2 second gap between them and the car in front. If you don’t and you crash into their rear then you’re the one to blame. It is the most basic type of RTA Personal Injury claim, the “rear end shunt”. However a recent case has found that the driver in front isn’t always entirely blameless.

In Ali v D’Brass the Claimant and Defendant were travelling along a dual carriageway at about 40 mph when the Claimant (the car in front by about half a length) suddenly slammed on his brakes. In the resulting injury claim trial the judge initially found that all the blame rested with the Claimant as although the Defendant was too close the Claimant had applied the brakes “negligently or recklessly” when there was no need to do so. The Claimant appealed and the Court of Appeal found that the first judge had made a mistake. If the Defendant was negligent in driving too close then he had to accept some fault for the accident. The Court of Appeal thought the Defendant was more to blame than the Claimant so liability was spilt 60:40, with the Claimant being held 40% to blame for the road accident for slamming on his brakes.

In Pykett v Ebony Clement (another RTA injury case) the Claimant was trying to overtake the Defendant when he crashed head on with an oncoming van. He brought a personal injury claim alleging that although he was the one doing the overtaking the Defendant had deliberately sped up and slowed down to prevent him completing his manoeuvre. The judge didn’t agree. He took into account layout of road and concluded that the Defendant was driving normally and that responsibility remained with the Claimant. The claimant therefore lost his RTA compensation claim. However, the case does show that the Court will consider the behaviour of the driver being overtaken at the time of an RTA accident involving an overtaking manoeuvre.

Similarly the conduct and behaviour of cyclist who suffers an accident will also be taken in account. In Malasi v Attmed Mr Malasi rode his bike into the side of a taxi which had sped through a T-junction. The taxi driver said that the lights were in his favour and Mr Malasi could have braked and avoided the crash. The Court found that the cyclist could indeed have braked but that equally that if the taxi driver hadn’t been speeding then the accident would also have been avoided. As a result they found the taxi driver 20% liable for the road traffic accident.

In Burton v Evitt Mr Evitt seemed to have done everything correctly when turning right in his car. He slowed down and checked his mirrors and saw nothing behind him other than a large vehicle. He was almost at a complete standstill when he began to turn, only to be hit by a motorbike which had overtaken the stationary line of traffic. The Court found that the one area where Mr Evitt could be criticised was that he should have edged out bit by bit and checked his mirrors more. However the majority of the blame for the accident (80%) remained with the motorcyclist, Mr Burton, who it was held should have taken more care when he saw the line of traffic and should have been ready to deal with any emergency that might be caused. 

If you have been injured in a road accident and would like to claim compensation then speak to one of our specialist RTA lawyers or email injury solicitor james McNally direct at jamesmcnally@sleeblackwell.co.uk for FREE advice and details of our No Win, No Fee scheme and Cash Upfront offer.