Teenager ran into road hit by car travelling within speed limit

A driver travelling below the speed limit can still be at fault

As a basic principle if a car hits a pedestrian the driver of the car will be liable for the pedestrian’s injury. The pedestrian must also take care when crossing a road, and failure to take care will mean a finding of contributory negligence against the pedestrian. That contributory negligence is expressed as a percentage, and compensation is reduced by that percentage. As I have said before, if the injury is serious a reduction of the compensation due to contributory negligence can prove very expensive. Continue reading “Teenager ran into road hit by car travelling within speed limit”

Pedestrian taking a risk pays in contributory negligence

There is a trend in Court decisions where a driver is found to blame, but the pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist involved is found partly to blame. That means they have contributed to their injury – contributory negligence.

The theme in these cases is risk taking. The driver should have seen you, slowed down and been ready to stop, but you should not have taken a risk.

A recent case explains the law nicely.

In the early hours two men were going home from the pub. They had been drinking but were not drunk. They had to cross a two lane carriageway close to a roundabout. They used a crossing, but it was not controlled by lights, and they did not have priority over cars. One man held back and the other crossed. A taxi was on the roundabout and was to exit into the road the men were to cross. The taxi hit the man who decided to cross.

The accident was analyzed to show what should have been seen by the driver and pedestrian, what speed was sensible for the taxi, and how both should have behaved. The Judge saw the facts this way:

  • The bypass is one of five roads leading into and out of a roundabout. The taxi entered the roundabout from a road almost opposite the entrance to the bypass. For the taxi driver the bypass was his third exit. The accident occurred on what was for the injured pedestrian the nearside lane of the bypass. Just before the impact the taxi’s speed was about 25 to 30 mph and within the speed limit.
  • The pedestrians had crossed the two lanes of the bypass which led into the roundabout and reached the “refuge” half way across it.
  • The Judge found that the driver should have seen the two men on the refuge by the time he was about 30 metres away from the refuge.
  • The judge found that it was likely that the second pedestrian deliberately waited for the taxi to pass, but the Claimant decided to run across the road. In the words of the Judge the Claimant “took a risk setting off when, unless the driver took some avoiding action, an accident was likely”. Implicit in this finding is a finding that the pedestrian deliberately took the risk of trying to cross the road in front of the taxi.
  • The taxi driver gave evidence that he saw from about 25 to 50 metres away only one person on the refuge, who must have been the pedestrian who waited. He first saw the man who crossed at the last moment in a position on the offside front of his car (right side). He braked and swerved to the right but was unable to avoid a collision.
  • The Judge found that the driver should at about the 30 metre mark have seen both men on the refuge. Even on the driver’s account of seeing only one pedestrian he should have taken his foot off the accelerator as a precaution against any untoward movement by that pedestrian. The judge concluded that “with a better look out, and a slight easing of speed I am satisfied that the accident would have been avoided” because the pedestrian would then have crossed the road in front of the taxi.

So there you have it. The driver was found to blame, but the pedestrian was found to have Pedestrian accident with car crossing roadcontributed by two thirds. That means the taxi driver was liable to pay compensation, but the compensation was discounted by two thirds to account for the blame of the pedestrian.

The Court of Appeal considered an appeal from the pedestrian, but turned it down. For an appeal to be successful the Judge must have got the law wrong, applied it incorrectly, or misunderstood the facts. No such problem was found so the appeal was unsuccessful.

There is a careful balance to be struck in these cases. The law takes into account the potential damage which can be caused by a motor vehicle, so places a heavy responsibility on drivers. The other side of the balance is that pedestrians who are shown to take a risk will have to pay the price of their own responsibility for their own safety.

You will find a motorcyclist filtering past queuing traffic winning his case, but being criticised in contributory negligence if you click here.

The case was heard in May 2011 by the Court of Appeal and is called Belka v Prosperini [2011] EWCA Civ 6

Source –BAILLI



Pedestrians at risk from falling trees

The danger of falling trees and branches

The danger from falling trees

We look at trees as a benign benefit of nature, but when they fall the consequences can be awful.

The law approaches fall trees or falling branches as it does most things, by saying those responsible for the tree must take reasonable care to avoid accidents. The law rarely demands an absolute guarantee; it demands only that reasonable care be taken to avoid likely injury. That is the balance between those responsible for something, such as a tree, which can cause injury, and those walking beneath it who could be injured. Continue reading “Pedestrians at risk from falling trees”

Pedestrian road accident

How careful must a driver be?

Children playing in street – take extra care

Where a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle the driver of the vehicle is usually to blame for failing to take reasonable care. As ever there are arguments of contributory negligence against the pedestrian.

The driver is not always to blame as in a case where the pedestrian could not have been seen and gave the driver no chance to stop. Contributory negligence allows for the range of fault between driver and pedestrian. Continue reading “Pedestrian road accident”

Google sued over walking directions

Woman sues Google over Utah walking directions

I came across a news report about a law suit in the United States against Google complaining its Google Map had given an unsafe pedestrian route.

Extract from the report of 1 June 2010 reads:Image shows pedestrians crossing road

Salt Lake City — A pedestrian injured by a motorist while following an online route has filed a lawsuit claiming Google Inc. supplied unsafe directions. Continue reading “Google sued over walking directions”