Driver Held 1/3 Liable For Injuries To Pedestrian

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 The Court of appeal recently heard a car accident case involving a pedestrian who suffered severe personal injuries when he attempted to cross a dual-carriageway in the early hours of the morning at a point where the road joined a roundabout.

The Claimant and a friend had reached a refuge in the middle of the carriageway which was designed as a crossing point for pedestrians.  Whilst pedestrians could cross at that point they did not have precedence over vehicles. The judge at first instance found that as the Defendant driver was entering the dual carriageway from the roundabout, the Claimant pedestrian took a deliberate risk of trying to cross in front of his vehicle whilst his friend remained on the refuge.

The driver of the car stated that he only saw one person on the refuge and only saw the Claimant pedestrian on the road at the last moment. The Judge concluded that the driver should have seen both men on the refuge, and that in any event he should have slightly eased his speed on seeing even one person on the refuge.  If he had done that the accident would have been avoided. He held that the pedestrian was two-thirds to blame and the driver one-third to blame for the accident.

The pedestrian appealed to the Court of Appeal but the Court upheld the trial Judge’s decision at first instance, stating that although the motorist should have eased off his accelerator on seeing the pedestrian at the refuge, the pedestrian’s conduct in deliberately attempting to cross the road in front of the vehicle did far more to contribute to the accident than anything the driver did or did not do.

This accident highlights the fact that drivers will always be assumed to accept a higher standard of care than pedestrians.  The pedestrian in this case deliberately crossed a wide road in front of an oncoming car in the early hours of the morning, when he would have been less visible.  The driver was still partly to blame for the accident because upon seeing pedestrians he should anticipate that they may act in an untoward way.

If you have been injured as a pedestrian in any circumstances, even if you think that you may be fully liable, call Personal Injury Solicitor David Mayor now for free legal advice on freephone 0800 975 2463.

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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4 responses to Driver Held 1/3 Liable For Injuries To Pedestrian

  1. jason @ personal injury lawyer says:

    Early hours of the morning? No comment on the pedestrian’s state of ‘mind’?

  2. What happens at the police station says:

    This is utterly ridiculous, how can someone be help 1/3 liable, its either your liable or your not, simple

  3. Forbes says:

    Thank you for your comments. Liability can be split between the parties to reflect their comparative blame. In a head-on collision, for instance, it may well be that both drivers were not paying attention and drifted across the central white lines, causing the collision. Both drivers may be equally to blame, and both will therefore bear 50% responsibility for the other driver’s losses. Each driver will consequently recover 50% of the total value of their claim (eg injury worth £5,000, driver gets £2,500).

    In the case above the pedestrian was primarily to blame because he took his safety in to his own hands by running across the road in front of the car. However, the Court stated that all drivers should be aware that pedestrians can be unpredictable and they should take appropriate steps to avoid an accident. Whilst people should not run out in front of cars they sometimes do, so the driver should have been aware of the possibility and slowed down or taken evasive action.

    In relation to the pedestrian’s state of mind that may be of relevance but of course the driver will not have been aware of that at the time. The Court held that he should have been more aware, regardless of the pedestrians intentions.

  4. John Elback says:

    “The driver was still partly to blame for the accident because upon seeing pedestrians he should anticipate that they may act in an untoward way.”

    So basically, to put it in plain English, all drivers should assume that all pedestrians are ****ing idiots.

    Let me guess, the driver was an honest, hard working person, who now has to pay through the nose for car insurance (or potentially cannot afford it anymore, thereby leaving him unemployed), thanks to some stupid idiot who can’t follow the BASIC RULES OF THE GREEN CROSS CODE (and, more than likely, was drunk).

    Nice. Says a lot about the UK justice system…

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