50/50 liability case will serve as precedent for future RTA rulings

By Amelia Harrison
Published: 03:08PM BST 07 Jun 2010


We acted for Mr Alec Schofield in a claim for personal injury compensation following a road traffic accident. The other party disputed who was responsible, and the case was heard at Northampton County Court.

What we did

The most commonly used case law in these circumstances is Joliffe v Hay, where the party turning right was held to have been 30% responsible for the accident. Having discussed the accident circumstances at length with Mr Schofield, we were confident he would make a very good witness, and so his compensation claim was taken to trial.

The trial judge found that each party had equally contributed to the accident and awarded liability on a 50/50 basis. Following the decision the case has now been reported on Lawtel, a leading online legal database, as it serves as a precedent for future road traffic accident cases involving similar circumstances.

Background

Our client was driving along behind the defendant, who was in turn driving behind a slow moving vehicle. Mr Schofield alleged that the defendant had attempted to overtake the slow moving vehicle once, but had to swerve back into her lane because of oncoming traffic.

She continued to travel behind the slow moving vehicle and did not switch off her right turn indicator. After continuing like this for some distance, Mr Schofield decided to try and overtake both the defendant and the slow moving vehicle, considering the defendant was no longer intending to try and overtake, and that she had simply forgotten to cancel her indicator.

Our client checked that it was safe to pull out and did so. As he was virtually level with the defendant she swerved into the right hand lane causing a collision. The defendant alleged that she was intending to turn right, that she had checked it was safe to do so, and that Mr Schofield attempted to overtake her when it was unsafe to do so.

Case handler

Amelia Harrison is a case handler in the personal injury department. She acts on behalf of both claimants and defendants, specialising in dealing with court procedure, appearing before the courts, and taking cases to trial.

Client testimonial

"I was totally happy with the service received. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Amelia. If I wanted to speak to her she would always make the time to discuss the claim and resolved all of the questions that I had. I was very pleased with the service from start to finish."

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