Victory in liability ruling for man seriously injured when hit by car

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Victory in liability ruling for man seriously injured when hit by car

25th November 2011

A man left with a serious head injury when he was hit by a speeding car whilst crossing the road is likely to receive significant damages following a court ruling this week.

The man from Liverpool was hit by a car whilst crossing Dale Street in the early hours of 19 July, 2009. The car’s driver later pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving and was sentenced to a prison term. But as the case moved to the civil courts the driver’s insurance company sought to blame the victim - rather than the driver - for the incident.

Richard Crabtree, a serious injuries specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, represented the now 20-year-old man and his family.

“My client was left with brain damage after sustaining extremely serious injuries when he was hit by the car being driven by the defendant,” said Mr Crabtree. “Securing the long-term care of my client is of the utmost importance and will prove incredibly costly. To suggest that the driver was not directly responsible for this – in the face of CCTV evidence and numerous witness accounts to the contrary - was an insult to my client and his family.”

Following a two day trial at the High Court of Justice in Manchester, His Honour Mr Justice Parker concluded that, even if the man had made an ‘error of judgment’ in crossing the road when he did, the Defendant’s conduct was on an entirely different scale.’

In the written judgment, Mr Justice Parker said: “He was in charge of a potentially lethal weapon. He was driving at a significantly excessive speed when he knew, or ought to have known, that a number of pedestrians were still in the area.”

The judge referred to how the driver, by his own admission, had taken his eyes off the road when he saw someone to his right whom he recognised. “He might as well have closed his eyes for that period and have been driving entirely blindly at the point just before impact,” he said. “He was drunk at the time, and that in my view substantially caused this accident to occur and constituted blameworthiness of a serious order.”

Dismissing the Defendant’s submission that a 60/40 split in liability was appropriate as ‘wholly unrealistic’, the judge ruled that because of the driver’s ‘overwhelming fault and causal contribution to this tragic accident,’ he would be held 90 per cent liable for the young man’s injuries.

Speaking after the ruling, Mr Crabtree said: “My client’s mother is pleased that this ruling will finally help to achieve justice for her son and their family, more than two years after he was so seriously injured in this incident.

“The injuries he sustained on that night have changed his life, and the lives of his family, forever. Following this ruling, it is now hoped that an appropriate settlement can be reached which takes into account the young man’s lost prospective earnings, meeting his care needs and case management costs that he will likely incur over the coming years.

“While no amount of money can make up for what my client has lost, we hope that he and his family will soon be able to begin to move on with their lives, safe in the knowledge that they do not need to worry about paying for this young man’s own future care and treatment.

“As my client considers their next course of action, it would be inappropriate to offer any further comment at this time.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious head and brain injuries.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.