Two Defendants held responsible and must each pay half Victims' damages

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Although the case was heard in Scotland, which has a separate jurisdiction to England and Wales, the Judgement will be read by the Judiciary throughout the UK and may well affect similar cases and insurers should be wary when there are more than two vehicles involved in the accident.

The Scottish Judge ruled that two drivers were equally responsible for a road crash that killed two people and badly injured a teenage girl.

James McKinlay and Elizabeth Hall both died when their car was involved in a head-on collision near Cuaich in the Highlands in March 2007. Mrs Hall's niece Kaya, who was 13 at the time of the accident, was left with life-threatening injuries and has had to relearn how to walk.

It was agreed that the young girl should receive substantial compensation, but insurers of the two drivers alleged to be to blame, Richard McNicoll and Ronald McLean, contested which should pay.

Mr McNicoll was driving his camper van behind a line of other vehicles when he was overtaken by Mr McLean's van. Vehicles in front braked as Mr McLean pulled back onto his side of the road, and Mr McNicoll clipped another car was propelled into the middle of the road. The camper van then collided with the oncoming Peugeot 306 in which Mr McKinlay, Mrs Hall and Kaya were travelling.

On 23 January 2012 at the Court of Session, Lord Doherty ruled that Mr McNicoll and Mr McLean were equally at fault, referring to them as 'joint wrongdoers'.

He said: 'I have no hesitation in concluding that Mr McLean was in breach of his duty of care to other road users in carrying out the overtaking manoeuvre. He placed the vehicles he was overtaking in a position where the only prudent course was to brake.'

He continued that it was also clear that Mr McNicoll was in breach of his duties to other road users by not leaving a safe stopping distance and failing to keep a proper lookout for other vehicles.

The decision means Norwich Union Insurance Ltd and AXA Insurance UK will each pay half of Kaya's compensation, the amount of which has not been disclosed.





For further information, please contact Julie Donovan, a Senior Legal Executive in our Personal Injury team, on 023 8085 7322 or at julie.donovan@bllaw.co.uk 

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