Green Lane in Ilford, the site of the accident. Credit: Google Maps.

The pursuer had been crossing a busy suburban road lined either side with shops when she was struck by the defender’s car.

The pursuer was 5 months pregnant at the time, and the accident caused her to suffer a miscarriage, as well as significant orthopaedic injuries, abdominal injuries and a brain injury.

The defender had a clear view of the pursuer as he approached her but maintained he did not see her.

It was accepted that had he kept a lookout and seen the pursuer when he should have done, he would have avoided a collision simply by taking his foot off the accelerator pedal.

It was therefore concluded that the primary liability lay with the defender, however that the pursuer’s contribution was 25%.

The defender appealed this decision. He claimed that the Judge had understated the extent of the pursuer’s responsibility, and that her considered but flawed decision to cross the road, was a marker of greater negligence than simply crossing the road without looking.

The Court of Appeal dismissed this argument. It restated the important principle that the destructive potential of a car, even one driven at a moderate speed, is relevant to the concept of blameworthiness and makes it rare for a pedestrian to be found more responsible than a driver.

Although the pursuer was blameworthy to some extent, as she had demonstrated a disregard for her own safety, she had not taken a deliberate risk. Her actions had not put the motorist in danger or in an emergency situation. A link to the full decision can be found here.

Car driver – 75% responsible             Pedestrian – 25% responsible 

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