6th April 2018
Marcus Grant, instructed by Tristan Hallam of Penningtons Manches LLP, appeared for the Claimant, a Police Officer who sustained soft tissue injuries that progressed into a chronic widespread pain condition (fibromyalgia) after the Defendant drove into head on collision with her parked Police BMW on a fast, unlit country road at night.
At the time she was attending to a call to search for a missing person and was speaking to some pedestrians standing on a driveway on the opposite side of the road to which she was originally driving. She parked up on the wrong side of the road, switched off the BMW’s head and side lights and switched on its white roof ‘take down lights’.
The Defendant denied liability, stating that the take down lights were confusing in that they appeared to approaching drivers as though they were head lights of an oncoming vehicle in the far distance. He stated that he only realised very late that they were in fact lights on a stationary vehicle parked on the wrong side of the road. He braked late but could not avoid the collision.
The Master found the Defendant was negligent because he had the stationary BMW’s take down lights in his vision for approximately eight seconds before impact and that he was negligent in failing to heed that the lit object ahead was stationary and on his side of the road.
Liability was apportioned 70% : 30% in the Claimant’s favour. She was criticised for not making the BMW more visible to approaching motorists, by way of a combination of her head, side or hazard lights.