Birch v Paulson (2012)

Birch was under the influence of alcohol when he stepped out into a single carriageway road in front of Paulson’s car at a time when the car was very close.

Birch submitted that Paulson should have appreciated that he was waiting to cross the road and that his behaviour was such that there was an obvious risk that he might try to do so at a time when it was dangerous and that, as a precautionary measure, she should have reduced her speed and steered towards the centre of the road.

Birch argued that, had she done so, the collision would have been avoided or would not have resulted in such serious injury.

The case was dismissed at first instance. Pauslon had been driving at 10mph below the speed limit. Birch had been looking in Paulson’s direction before starting to cross.

The Judge went on to state that if he was wrong to dismiss the case then he would have found Birch to have been 75% contributorily negligent for the consequences of the accident. Birch had been the prime cause of the collision by moving out in front of an oncoming car when it would have been obvious that it was there and that the car was far too close to do so safely.

This case was appealed and the appeal was dismissed.

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