Claimant’s Road Traffic Accident
On February 23, 2018, the Claimant was riding a motorcycle scooter on his way home from work when he collided with the rear of a stationary lorry that had been parked in the tunnel by the Defendant driver. The Claimant suffered life-changing injuries in the accident, including a spinal injury and severe traumatic brain injury.
Life-changing injuries can have a profound impact on a person’s lifestyle. They can make it difficult or impossible to do things that were once taken for granted, such as walking, talking, driving, working, or caring for oneself. This can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.
In addition to the physical challenges, life-changing injuries can also have a financial impact. The cost of medical care, rehabilitation, and equipment can be significant. In some cases, people with life-changing injuries may need to quit their jobs or change their careers. This can lead to financial hardship and stress.
Despite the challenges, it is possible to live a fulfilling life after a life-changing injury. With the right support, people can learn to adapt to their new circumstances and find new ways to enjoy life.
Fault for Accident
In a rear-end shunt accident, the driver who hit the back of the other car is usually at fault. This is because the driver who hit the back of the other car was not leaving enough space between their car and the car in front of them. The Highway Code states that drivers should leave a two-second gap between their car and the car in front of them. This gap should be increased in certain conditions, such as if the road is wet or icy or visibility is poor.
The Defendant driver denied liability from the outset and no rehabilitation payments were made to Claimant despite his desperate need for intensive rehabilitation.
Liability Issues at Trial
The following issues were under consideration at trial:
- Was the Defendant driver negligent when he chose to park the lorry where he did, just after a bend in the tunnel and at the commencement of a slip road?
- Was the Claimant at fault in failing to observe the lorry was stationary in time to avoid the collision?
- If the Claimant proved the Defendant driver’s negligence and the Defendant proved the Claimant’s contributory fault, to what extent should the Claimant’s damages be reduced to reflect his share of the blame for his injuries?
Findings on Liability
The Court found that the Defendant driver was negligent when he chose to park the lorry where he did. The location of the lorry was dangerous and unjustified, as it created an obstruction in a tunnel and at the commencement of a slip road. This could have easily led to an accident, as it would have been difficult for other drivers to see the lorry and react in time.
The Defendant driver could have mitigated the risk of an accident by parking his lorry in a safer location. For example, he could have parked his lorry further along the slip road where it widens into two lanes. He could have also turned on his hazard warning lights as soon as he came to a halt. This would have given other drivers a clear indication that the lorry was stationary and allowed them to react accordingly.
The Court also found that the Claimant was at fault in failing to observe the lorry was stationary in time to avoid the collision. The Claimant was riding a scooter and was therefore more vulnerable than a driver in a car. The Claimant should have been more aware of his surroundings and should have been prepared to react to any hazards.
The Claimant could have mitigated the risk of an accident by slowing down and being more cautious when approaching the bend in the tunnel. The Claimant could have also looked out for the lorry and been prepared to brake if necessary.
The Court found that the Claimant was 40% at fault for the accident and the Defendant driver was 60% at fault. This means that the Claimant will only be entitled to 60% of the damages that he would have been entitled to if he had not been at fault.
The Defendant driver was found to be negligent and the Claimant was found to be contributorily negligent. The Claimant will therefore only be entitled to 60% of the damages that he would have been entitled to if he had not been at fault.