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Rear shunt on Dual Carriageway - Claimant also to blame
Thu 24th Nov 2011 Personal injury
In the recent case of Ali v D'Brass (2011) the Claimant and Defendant were driving along a dual carriageway and were both travelling about between 35 to 40mph. The Defendant was approximately half a car-length behind the Claimant when the Claimant applied his brakes sharply and the Defendant collided into the rear of the Claimant's car.
The Judge found that although the Defendant's
positioning was inadequate, responsibility for the accident lay
with the Claimant for braking negligently or recklessly when there
was no hazard. The Judge then considered contributory negligence
on the Defendant's part in light of his positioning, but held that given
the circumstances and that the Claimant had applied his brakes
for no good reason and without warning, the Defendant should not be
liable and the Claimant's personal injury claim was dismissed.
The Claimant appealed the decision submitting that the Judge had erred in his decision and that if the Defendant was shown to be negligent, it would then go on to determine if the Claimant was also guilty of some fault and an apportionment should be made in accordance with the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 s.1.
It was held the collision could have been avoided if the Defendant had driven with more care and distance from the Claimant's vehicle and the Judge was wrong in not finding the Defendant at fault. Although the Claimant was also at fault for braking sharply, the Defendant was more to blame than the Claimant for the accident. An apportionment of 60 per cent was made against the Defendant and 40 per cent against the Claimant.
Drivers should be warned not only to keep your distance from the car in front but drivers should not brake unnecessarily and be aware of vehicles behind!
Senior Legal Executive - Personal Injury team
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