In March 2014, the Court of Appeal heard the case of Gray v Gibson, where a car driver was injured in a collision with a lorry on a country road. The driver was appealing against the decision made by the first Judge that she had been partially to blame for the accident.
The accident occurred on a 2 lane country road. The two vehicles were travelling in opposite directions, and collided on a bend as the lorry was encroaching onto the car’s side of the road by at least 2 feet.
It was found by the Court of Appeal that the lorry driver, travelling at approximately 25 miles per hour, should have taken extra care due to the size of the lorry in comparison to the size of the road, especially on bends. They found that the lorry was driving too fast.
They considered that the Claimant, who was familiar with meeting large vehicles on that road, could not have expected to meet a large vehicle which was at least 2 feet over the centre line. They found that her speed of 30 miles per hour on a national speed limit road was reasonable, and therefore she held no blame for the accident.
There was also concern in this case that the first Judge may have made his decision on the basis that blame in these types of accident is shared between the parties. This is an interesting notion, as car insurance companies often prefer to attempt settlement on a 50/50 basis where there is no strong evidence in favour of either party.
Accidents on country roads are popular candidates for the assumption that both parties must be partially to blame, as they often involve head on collisions with no witnesses. It is however unsafe to make this assumption, as it can lead to an entirely innocent party being under-compensated, as where blame has been split the compensation will be reduced in line with the percentage of blame accepted.
Veitch Penny has had success in cases where an injured driver feels that they do not bear any of the blame for an accident, but where the insurance companies may be encouraging a split liability agreement. If you have been involved in such an accident, there may be evidence which can support you, so it is important to collect this where possible. For example, photographs taken of the vehicles in their final resting positions after the collision, of debris or skid marks on the road, or measurements can all be very useful in showing what actually happened.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a road traffic collision and wish to discuss your situation in a free, no obligation chat please contact us on 01392 344800, or request a call back.