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Accidents will happen


Accident, Accident Claim, Claim, Compensation, Injury, injury claim, motor, pavement, pedestrian, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident, solicitors, speed    No Comments

As all too often happens an accident had happened between a pedestrian and a motor car.pedestrian crossing

In these there is always a feeling that more could be done by one or the other.

In this case the pedestrian got out of a car which was parked a few metres beyond a pedestrian crossing on a busy suburban road with shops either side.

She moved to the rear of the parked car, then looked at the road and saw the  car approaching at normal speed.

She misjudged its position and thought there was enough time to cross the road.

The motorist had a clear view of her as he approached, but did not see her.

The front offside of his car struck her when she was almost four metres into the carriageway.

Sadly She suffered very significant injuries including a traumatic brain injury and went onto to bring a claim for compensation.

The judge found that the motorist’s failure to pay proper attention had caused the accident, but that the pedestrian’s share of responsibility was 25 per cent.

The motorist disagreed with this view and appealed and the appeal result re-affirmed the sensible view of use of a car.

There were two aspects to apportioning liability between the parties to a road traffic accident: their respective causative potency and their blameworthiness.

Motorists had a high burden of causative potency because a car usually did more damage to a person than a person did to a car.

The destructive potential of a car, even one driven at a moderate speed, was also relevant to blameworthiness, and made it rare for a pedestrian to be found more responsible than a driver.

Driving a car without keeping a proper lookout where pedestrians were reasonably expected to be present indicated a considerable degree of blameworthiness.

So in these cases it would be that the motorist needed to take ‘more care’ than the pedestrian.

This isn’t going to happen  in every case e.g. the adult who recklessly runs out from the side of the road (note that children cases would be dealt with on similar principles as applied above with children given more leeway and motorists having greater burdens  placed on them when driving near schools or crossings) to above).

If you need help on any injury case at all please do not hesitate to contact Russell Jones or the litigation team on 01623 451111

 

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Accident, Accident Claim, car, Compensation, country road, Injury, injury claim, motor, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident    No Comments

It’s probably something that every motorist has come across, for some on  a daily basis.country road

A country road, speed limit of 60 mph and no road markings.

A recent case showed the steps a Court takes when deciding on fault  with parties who disagree the facts.

The Claimant was driving her Golf motor car along a country road, at, she reported, a moderate speed of 40 mph as she approached a right hand bend.

A Range Rover being driven by the Defendant was coming the other way and was following their friend’s red Mazda sports car.

As the Claimant approached the bend, the Mazda came  through the band past her and surprised her with a combination of its speed and maybe it’s noise.

As such as she approached the bend the Claimant, arriving according to her evidence on the correct (left) side of the unmarked road, negotiating the bend on her own side.

At that point she said the range Rover was significantly on the wrong side of the road and approaching her at speed.

The vehicles at that stage were said to be about 70 metres apart or so.

An accident happened in which the Claimant was badly hurt and brought a claim for compensation as a result of her injury.

The Defendant had said that he was on the right side of the road and that the Golf was speeding but by the time that the hearing took place accepted that he was over the ‘imaginary’ white line, and that the Golf was travelling at some lesser speed, probably 40 mph or so.

Who was at fault?

The evidence of the Mazda was not of help as they did not see the collision,  hearing the noise only, save that the driver and passenger did not feel that the speed of the Golf was high.

Expert evidence was called, and speed calculations done, calculating  speed back from damage caused and positions of the vehicles and their respective positions prior to  the crash.

These pointed to the Golf being the in correct position  and travelling at about 40 mph immediately preceding taking action to avoid the collision, with the Range Rover over the imaginary white line by some 0.5 metres or so, but having gained its correct position by the time the impact happened.

In all the evidence it was accepted that 2 cars of this nature  travelling on the correct side of the road could pass easily.

What do you think?

Given those facts it’s hard to understand how the collision happened, although it might have been described as a near miss.

In the end the Court found that, for some reason the Claimant had turned  from the correct side of the road and into the front of the Range Rover.

The Court found that the Range Rover was primarily responsible for the accident, by approaching the corner  effectively without due care of oncoming traffic, or in the judge’s words ‘ the presence of the Range Rover significantly on her side of the road ahead, caused her to panic and as she braked, to drive into collision with it.

The Judge found that because the Claimant  had been distracted by the Mazda, she then drove into the Range Rover whilst braking.

The  result?

A 50/50 decision with blame proportioned equally between the parties.

If you need help with a similar case or any injury suffered please contact Russell Jones or our injury team on 01623 451111

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accident, Accident Claim, Claim, Compensation, Holiday, Injury, Personal Injury, solicitors    No Comments

With the warmer weather and the school term to finish shortly, thoughts are turning to the Summer break.

And whilst no one ever wants to have an accident, when they happen on holiday, whether Summer Winter or any  other time, it seems doubly unfair.

Have an accident on holiday in the UK and nothing really changes whether you are on holiday or not, the same principles apply for your compensation claim, and therefore the same advice to contact your solicitor as soon as possible.

But what happens on those ‘foreign’ holidays?

What if you are in Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands etc and you have an accident at the Hotel?

Who are you going to sue then?

Believe it or not it depends on how you booked your holiday.

If you have booked your flight and hotel together in a one stop deal, it is likely that it will be easier to make your claim.

Under The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours  Regulations 1992 (crikey that a mouthful even for us lawyers)  you have rights to sue the organisers of your holiday if you suffer an accident.

If, for instance,  you had booked your holiday by contacting a Hotel direct and then using a website to book your flights separately,  then had an accident at the Hotel on holiday, or on a trip organised through the Hotel, you  would have to sue the hotel   direct with all the problems of a foreign Court and defendant.

Whilst it might be more expensive to book it as an all-in-one, the benefit is that if an accident happens, you can go direct to that booking agent for redress, as they are liable under the above Regulations, if of course it was their fault.

So temptations  to save money can cause problems with claims, and like anything else, you pay your money and take your choice.

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Accident, Accident Claim, car, Car Hire, Compensation, Injury, injury claim, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident, solicitors, tripping claim, whiplash, work accident    No Comments

Why is there a compensation myth?money

We are told that the UK suffers from a compensation culture. Injured people are just grabbing at monies and it’s bringing the economy down. This is to be compared with Companies* running multi million pound industries claiming  inflated hire car costs and repair fees against each other, with at times the Insurers themselves joining in though associated companies.

So is everyone out there a greedy claimer? It seems not.

A recent survey** found

·        Over 4 in 10 people who have suffered a specific type of non-fault personal injury have not made a claim for compensation

·        Personal injury victims who do make a claim do so in order to right financial and emotional wrongs, rather than to take advantage of the UK’s supposed compensation culture

·        81% of injury sufferers have used compensation to offset their own lost earnings or costs, with 57% saying that they have had to make significant changes to their lifestyles

·        over a third (37%) of the British adults surveyed would be worried about how much a claim might cost in terms of legal fees

·        Accident victims who have not claimed are “silent sufferers” and are not getting the support they need to meet their monetary concerns or help with adjustments to their lifestyle

·        Respondents to the survey also said that in the event of a personal injury they would be most concerned about the impact of their personal injury on their close family, with partners (67%) and children (53%) most likely to be affected

Costs are frequently a worry for injured people and insurance companies love to ramp up those worries and have done so in the last years with great success. Since April 2013 the cost situation has become a lot easier.

Basically, this is the advice:

·        If you don’t win your case, then you don’t have to pay anyone anything

·        If you do win your case, then you may pay up to (but no more than ) 25% of your compensation towards your own solicitors costs

·        The only times you are exposed to any worry about costs are if you don’t tell the truth about your claim, or fail to accept an offer from the other side that turns out to be enough

·        Don’t suffer in silence, get some straight forward expert advice from a solicitor direct

·        If someone hurts you, you may be entitled to be compensated

For more information about compensation claims please call Russell Jones on 01623 451111 or visit www.fidler.co.uk/personalinjury

* OPOKU v TINTAS [2013] EWCA Civ 1299,

** National Accident Helpline – Populus survey

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At this time of year we have several calls from clients who are concerned about whether they can clear the snow from paths in front of their house.

Ahead of the amber weather warnings the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers have issued a press release to hopefully clear up some of the myths surrounding this issue.

“Every single winter someone somewhere stirs the myth that Good Samaritans shouldn’t be helpful and clear snow because they will be sued if someone then falls and is injured. It’s absurd,” said the association’s president John Spencer.

We hope this clears it up for you.

If we can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact either myself or Russell on 01623 448331.

Rebecca

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Accident, Accident Claim, bus, Bus accident, CCTV, Compensation, Injury, injury claim, motor, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident    No Comments

It would only mean someone to those of a ‘certain age’ but there’s no doubt that the old days of ‘Jack’ hanging on at the back and chatting to the  passengers has long gone.Green_and_Red_RT_buses

In this day and age the driver is fare collector and passenger manager all in one.

Which causes problems when passengers get on and off the bus and it’s moving about.

In a recent case in London, a passenger was injured when the bus driver braked suddenly causing the claimant to fall and cause injury to herself.

Whilst standing near the front of the bus, a car had come out in front of the bus and the bus had braked to avoid a collision and caused the accident to the claimant.

But who was at fault?

The claimant suffered a nasty injury and so wanted compensation.

She sued the bus company as the car had disappeared.

She had to  prove that the bus driver had been negligent in failing to avoid heavy braking,.

The driver said that he had seen the car at his left, had not expected it to come into the road  in front of him but when it did he moved  to the  right but as it kept coming then braked causing the claimant to fall.

The Court both when hearing the original evidence and on Appeal decided that the bus driver had done everything expected of him

So the claim failed.

The court had the benefit of evidence  from witnesses  and also CCTV taken from the bus.

The judge held the car was solely to blame for the accident.

This shows how careful you have to be  when choosing who you sue and why.

If you would like help with  a similar case or any personal injury claim please contact Russell Jones or the accident injury team at Fidler and Pepper on 01623 451111

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accident, Accident Claim, car, Compensation, Injury, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident, solicitors, speed, traffic lights    No Comments

The law can be confusing at times and traffic lights can be as well.

It’s obvious that red means stop but does green always mean go?

The highway code says this:

GREEN means you may go on if the way is clear . Take special care if you intend to turn left or right and give way to pedestrians who are crossing
It’s a bit of a mouthful but a recent case rested just on this idea.
Accident facts
Mr G had been driving towards a complicated junction which had 11 traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic.
He was familiar with the junction and turned right when the lights turned green in his favour.
He knew that the other lights would be red at that time and therefore did not check to see whether any cars were approaching.
In fact Mr B had driven through a red light and a collision occurred.
G suffered neck and back injuries and brought proceedings alleging that the accident had been caused by Mr B’s negligent driving.
Mr G instructed solicitors  brought a claim for compensation for the injuries that he suffered in the accident.
On the basis that he was the one following the green signal and the other driver had gone through a red light this seemed obvious.
What happened at Court?
The first Court found Mr  B had driven through a red light, that he had not been travelling significantly in excess of 30mph and that the accident had been solely caused by G’s negligence in failing to check for vehicles when turning right.
So Mr G had followed the green signal (i.e. OK to go you would think) but lost his claim because someone failed to see the red signal – which even the Highway Code says you must  stop at.
Not surprisingly Mr G appealed  and even that was refused by the next Court he went to.
I’m not having that!
Mr G decided he would go again as he thought he should have some compensation  and the case ended up at the Court of Appeal.
Mr G was arguing that how could the accident be his fault when Mr B had admitted he had driven through a red (stop) light and therefore was at fault?
Result
The Court of Appeal decided the case this way.

Mr G had made a positive decision not to check for traffic when he turned right because he thought  that the traffic light would be red and he assessed that no vehicles  or cars would be approaching.

Mr G’s  driving across   without looking was an act of sheer folly – [for traffic coming through a red light?]

It was not sensible to assume without checking that no car was approaching and Mr G had been at fault  in failing to check for oncoming traffic.

BUT, all was not lost.

Mr  B should not have been where he was at the moment of impact.

By entering the junction when he did, Mr B created the danger which the lights were designed to prevent.

The onus was on Mr B to be particularly careful when driving through the junction as he should not have been there at that time.

The Court decided that Mr G  and Mr B were equally at fault and gave Mr G half of the compensation he was claiming.

This does seem bizarre.

What it does show is that you are not entitled to rely on a red light to stop traffic, and if you are going to cross a busy road governed by traffic lights, you still have to take care to make sure nothing is coming through.

If you would like advice on any accident claim please contact Russell Jones or any member of our our litigation team on 01623 451111

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accident, Accident Claim, Compensation, Injury, injury claim, motorcycle, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident, speed    No Comments

Speed is a difficult one in  accident claims.speed dial

And certainly where injuries are suffered it’s something that has to be dealt with carefully.

In various cases it’s been decided that speed alone is not  evidence of negligence  and in others where  speed has been treated as the main  factor for causing an accident.

Certainly it is something that, if a factor in a case, will mean a careful examination of all the facts will be needed before a Court  will make a decision or a settlement is reached.

A recent case involved a motor cyclist.

All too often they are blamed for speed but does their speed mean they are at fault?

T had been riding his motorcycle down a road on an Army barracks when he crashed into the side of a minibus driven by a soldier (K), which had begun to turn right in front of T’s path in order to enter a filling station.

The road had a 20 mph speed limit.

K said that he had observed the road and seen T, but had concluded that he had enough time to make the turn as T was far away, and that he had not seen T after that.

Witnesses at the scene gave evidence that K had been travelling very fast and that he had glanced momentarily to the left towards a group of soldiers before seeing the minibus ahead and breaking sharply.

T admitted he  was driving in excess of the speed limit. The issue was who had caused the accident.

Things to consider

It was T’s right of way.

K was the cause of the accident as had he not started his right turn across the carriageway then the collision would not have happened.

K should not have turned unless it was safe to do so.

So it’s straight forward?

Well not quite.

The starting point was that T had a right of way and that K should only have turned if it was safe to do so.

T was travelling certainly in excess of 30 mph and probably in excess of 40 mph before he realised that K was ahead.

The Court found that K had been a consistent witness throughout and his account that he had observed the road before turning right and genuinely believed that there was sufficient time to turn was accepted.

By driving over the speed limit and glancing to the left at the soldiers T was unable to stop in time.

Nevertheless K should not have turned until he was satisfied of T’s speed. A prudent driver would have waited until T had passed unless he had been sure of the motorbike’s speed.

Although K had said that he was certain that he had enough time to make the turn, the court was not satisfied that he had assessed how fast T was travelling.

K  should have seen that the motorbike was going in excess of 20 mph, and if in any doubt about that, waited.

But the Court found that T was the principal but not the only author of his misfortune.

T had suffered injuries and therefore was due compensation if he could prove he was not at fault.

In the end the Court said that although compensation was  recoverable, the amount should be reduced   by 80 per cent because of the way that T was riding his motorcycle.

None of these case are easy.

They can’t be dealt with  without going into a lot of detail surrounding the accident, and assumptions certainly shouldn’t be made.

If you need help with any accident or compensation claim then contact Russell Jones or our injury team on 01623 451111

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accident, Accident Claim, Compensation, country road, lorry, motor, Personal Injury, Road Traffic Accident    No Comments

It’s not often the   simpler road traffic accidents, whether they involve compensation claims for personal injury  get as far as the Court of Appeal, but recently this one did.wide lorry

We have all been there, driving down a narrow country road and come face to face with something coming the other way.

So who’s at fault?

Well every case depends on it’s own facts.

Mrs G was driving along (well) within the speed limit on her own side of the road.

She was faced with a lorry  coming the other way and a collision happened on a bend.

The road there was 16.5 feet wide and the lorry was 8.5 feet wide.

Both  vehicles were eventually found to be traveling at about the same speed, give or take a few MPH.

The vehicles collided and Mrs G suffered injuries as well as damage to the vehicles themselves.

The Appeal was from a decision where the Judge started from the position that both parties were at 50:50 fault for the accident unless he was persuaded otherwise.

I suppose you could see why the Judge had started there.

Both speeds were about the same, and give or take a few feet, both vehicles were said to be traveling on the correct side of the road.

However it was found that the lorry was 2 feet over the centre of the road, it was after all wider than half the road.

Mrs G was found partly at fault and wasn’t happy about it.

On appeal, this was the way the accident was looked at.

Mrs G was traveling at 30 mph on her own side of the road in a  60 mph area. She was used to the road and used to meeting traffic in the other direction.

She was effectively traveling sensibly given the road circumstances.

The lorry driver was over the centre of the road, and traveling at 25 mph and going around a bend.

The Appeal Court said that any special duty was on him, as he knew he was encroaching on the other side of the road, and therefore his actions meant he had a special and particular duty of care and was not to drive at a speed where he could not stop over a short distance and one which would avoid a collision or significantly mitigate it.

Mrs G could not be criticised for not knowing that a lorry coming the other way would be driving in such a fashion and therefore could not be at fault for any part of the accident, as she was on the correct side of the road at a sensible speed.

So there you go, a simple accident explained by the Court of Appeal.

The answer is, step over the centre of the road and you do so at your risk and no one else’s.

If you need legal help or legal advice on any accident or injury claim  please call Russell Jones of the Injury team on 01623 451111

Case cited Gray v Gibson CA 4/3/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Court of Appeal recently reviewed an accident involving police vehicles and a member of the public. police car

And despite what is thought, there is no difference when an emergency vehicle is being driven on the road to you and me

The Court found that  a judge had been entitled to apportion blame at 50:50 in a road traffic accident claim where one party had failed to stop or keep a proper look out and the other had been driving 25mph faster than the speed limit.

C had been driving a car with a passenger when his car collided with a police van driven by a police officer (F) which was turning right across oncoming traffic. Both C and his passenger suffered injuries and they brought a claim against the relevant Police Authority   for F’s negligent driving. The judge found that F had been negligent in failing to stop before he turned right or to check for oncoming traffic. He further found that C had been driving at 55mph in a 30mph speed limit. He held that both parties had been negligent and apportioned liability at 50:50

C appealed and said that the judge had reached a decision which was not open to him on the facts and the Judge  had failed to give adequate reasons for his decision.

C further said that  F had failed to stop; keep a proper look out; wait for a safe gap; or have regard to the painted lines on the road.

There is an argument already decided before the Court that speed in itself doesn’t make you at fault in an accident. Some people might call it the ‘Jeremy Clarkson defence’ but the case was actually known as  Grealis v Opuni

The Court of Appeal said they were not happy to  interfere.

C’s arguments underplayed his own negligence in failing to comply with the speed limit and driving 25mph faster. The Grealis case above involved someone travelling within the ’30’s’ in a 30 mph area and not 25 mph faster than the limit so they were not impressed by that argument.

They also thought that F’s was at fault in 2 ways; he had failed to stop before turning or to keep a proper look out.

So it isn’t true to say that any different law applies to emergency vehicles and they, like you and me, must give consideration to other motorists and road users at all times.

If you need help with any accident  or compensation please call Russell Jones or any member of the accident team on 01623 451111

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