Emerging from a Side Road - Who is to Blame for the Accident?

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In one particular case, Christine Smith v Barry Kempson (2011),  the car was exiting her street and intending to turn right onto a major road, her view was obscured by parked cars and as she exited from the road she was in collision with a motorcycle travelling on the wrong side of the road and in the opposite direction. 

It was accepted that she had been unable to see the motorcycle when emerging from the road however the Judge found the driver to be responsible for the accident saying had she seen the motorcyclist on the road the accident would not have occurred and she indicated that on that day it was very busy and heavily parked and knew the area well and it was an error of judgment on her part.

There was no suggestion the motorcyclist was doing anything wrong or that his driving fell below the reasonable standard of a motorcyclist.  

After reviewing the previous cases it was found that there is no rule of absolute or strict liability when a car emerges from a minor road onto a major one. What does have to be taken into consideration is the conduct of both of the drivers. If one of them has fallen below the standard required for the particular situation they find themselves in, they may find themselves liable either partially or wholly.

For example, in the present case, if the motorcyclist had been found to have been speeding, the result may well have been justifiably different.

Julie Donovan
Senior Legal Executive - Personal Injury team

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