Pedestrian Struck by a Speeding Driver - who is to blame?

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Liability was apportioned between the Claimant (pedestrian) and the Defendant (driver) on a 85/15 split liability basis in the Claimant's favour.

The Claimant had crossed a single track road subject to a 20 mph speed limit in a busy shopping area when he was struck by the Defendant.  Expert evidence concluded that the Defendant was exceeding the speed limit before colliding with the Claimant despite the Claimant stepping into the Defendant's path.

The Defendant who used the road once per week for the last nine months was of the opinion that the speed limit was 30 mph and not 20 mph. She was local and knew the area well and should have been aware of the correct speed limit.  On cross examination she had a poor understanding of her responsibilities as a driver and gave the impression that everyone should move out of her way and pedestrians should only cross at designated crossings.
Although the Claimant was visible from 33 metres, the Defendant could not say why she had not seen him earlier. The Court held that the Claimant should have waited to cross the road and was deducted 15% for contributory negligence.   

Kaye Mansbridge
Legal Executive - Personal Injury team

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