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James Arney, instructed by Adrian Cottam of DAC Beachcroft, acted for the Defendant in a 2-day liability trial against Stephen Killalea KC. The case was heard by Rowena Collins Rice J in the High Court. The Defendant was travelling at 42-45mph along a 30mph town street on approach to a zebra crossing next to Byron Primary School at 3.50pm. The Claimant turned across the Defendant’s path, resulting in her car being ‘T-boned’ by the Defendant’s approaching car. Liability was apportioned 50/50.
Collins Rice J. was clear that there must be a measure of responsibility on both drivers for this accident regarding ‘causative potency’ and ‘blameworthiness’ of each driver’s conduct.
It was held not to be unreasonable to travel at the 30mph limit rather than at a lower speed. Whilst the Defendant’s driving was excessive, the nature and level of the speeding made it misjudged rather than reckless and flagrant. The Claimant instead of waiting, pulled out, across the Defendant’s right of way, in circumstances where he could not avoid hitting her. Each created a considerable hazard for the other. It was the combination of the Defendant’s unsafe speed and the Claimant’s unsafe timing which set in motion an accident neither of them could then avoid.
The Defendant recovered the cost of the liability trial, having previously made an effective Part 36 offer at the 50/50 level awarded.