SUCCESSFUL DEFENCE OF MULTI-VEHICLE, COMPLEX RTA CLAIM INVOLVING EMERGENCY REACTIONS, TRIED REMOTELY
11th March 2021
Alex Glassbrook appeared as counsel for a defendant driver who took emergency evasive action then faced a claim in negligence, after another driver lost control of a car on an icy road in darkness, and several collisions ensued.
Alex (instructed by Michelle Gallagher of Horwich Farrelly) appeared at the liability trial for a defendant driver who was faced with an oncoming, out-of-control vehicle, on an isolated and unlit A-road, in darkness and in black ice conditions. The Defendant took emergency evasive action but was unable to avoid collision with a road barrier and the oncoming vehicle.
The several evidential difficulties of the trial arose from the darkness and icy conditions, the distorting effect of those conditions and the collisions upon memory and perception of distance, and the lack of any dashcam or other footage of the accident. The accident involved 3 vehicles, extensive damage to cars and to road barriers, and vehicles scattered over a wide area.
The trial took place in pandemic conditions over several days, using the court’s video platform, and witnesses gave evidence from various locations around the UK. A single joint expert in accident reconstruction gave detailed written evidence and was examined at the remote trial.
Agreeing with Alex’s submissions, the court followed the scientific approach to memory described by Mr Justice Leggatt (as he then was) in Gestmin SGPS SA v Credit Suisse  EWHC 3560 (Comm), applied the standard of care in relation to situations of emergency and peril from Ng Chun Pui v Lee Chuen Tat  RTR 298 (PC) and refuted a “counsel of perfection” in driving, following Sam v Atkins  EWCA Civ 1452,  RTR 14. The claim against the Defendant was dismissed.