The High Court has heard evidence in a case relating to a road accident between a Range Rover and a child in Preston.
At the time of the accident the child was aged 7 years. The accident occurred in daylight as the child, Anisa Rehman, was crossing Acregate Lane, Preston close to her home. The vehicle driver, Mr Brady, gave a statement that he was driving towards New Hall Lane and due to the presence of parked cars on both sides of the road he slowed to between 20 and 30mph.
Mr Brady stated that as he drew level with a parked transit van a small girl ran out from behind the parked van directly in front of his vehicle. Despite emergency braking he was unable to avoid a collision. The child was hit by the Range Rover and suffered serious injuries including serious head injuries.
A claim for personal injury compensation was brought by the child’s parent against Mr Brady’s insurers who denied that Mr Brady was responsible for the accident.
After considering evidence from road traffic accident reconstruction experts the court found that at the time of the collision Mr Brady was driving at between 28 and 32 mph. The road speed limit was 20mph and there were traffic calming measures in place. In view of the nature of the road, the presence of parked vehicles and road works on the road the judge found that despite the 20 mph speed limit a reasonable speed in the circumstances would have been 15mph. It was held that if the Range Rover was travelling at a lower speed the accident could have been avoided and therefore the judge held Mr Brady liable for the accident.
The insurers then argued ‘contributory negligence’ on the part of the child – i.e. that the child ought to have been aware that it was unsafe to cross when she did and therefore she ought to be held 20 – 25% to blame for the accident.
However, the judge disagreed that the child was partly to blame on the basis that if the Range Rover had been driven at the speed limit of 20 mph at the point when the child stepped into the road the accident would not have happened as the child would have safely reached the other side of the road before a collision could occur.
The driver was held 100% to blame for the accident and the insurers obliged to compensate the child in full.
Expert legal advice for injured pedestrians
Children are among the most vulnerable road users and child pedestrian accidents are common and often lead to serious injuries. Liability in pedestrian accidents is not always straightforward and the speed of the vehicle is usually an important factor in deciding liability in such cases.
If you or your child have been injured in a pedestrian road accident you should obtain advice from a personal injury solicitor to find out if a claim for compensation can be made.
(Case ref: A Rehman v Estate of J G Brady QBD 25.01.12)
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