Road Traffic Accident Cases

Here are some propositions from recent high level RTA cases especially as between pedestrianand driver.


Pedestrian-driver: No duty of care?


Sam -v- Atkins, CA (Civ Div) 9 November 2005


The driver did not owe a pedestrian a duty of care in circumstances where the pedestrian had walked out into the path of the driver's oncoming vehicle.

Drivers and pedestrians


Puffett -v- Hayfield, CA (Civ Div) 16 December 2005


As a matter of law, a finding that the excessive speed at which a car had been driven was causative of an accident resulting in personal injury could be made without indicating what was a safe speed.

Driver’s duty of care to pedestrians


Goundry -v- Hepworth, CA (Civ Div) 30 November 2005


Where an orderly group of adult and child pedestrians had crossed to the middle of a road, it was held that an approaching motorist was not under a duty to stop to let the pedestrians finish crossing the road.

A group of adult and child pedestrians including G, who was four years old at the time, had crossed to the middle of a road and waited for two cars, both approaching from the left, to pass. The first car passed by. However, as the second car, driven by H at a speed of 25 mph, drew level, G ran into the road and was hit by H's car.

At trial it was held that, although the group of pedestrians had included adults, given the vulnerable position of the group H should have slowed right down or stopped to let the group cross and as she had failed to do either she was liable in negligence.

HELD: H's negligence was based on the proposition that her duty as a motorist required her to stop and let the group waiting cross the road. That proposition was incorrect. The car in front of H had passed by and did not stop; if H ought to have stopped then arguably so should the other motorist. On the evidence, as H approached, it was an orderly group apparently waiting for her to pass and, while many motorists might have stopped, many more, driving with care, would not have stopped.

Reasonable judgment of driver


Barry -v- Pugh, High Ct, 18 November 2005


Where a car towing a horse box and a motorcycle travelling in the opposite direction collided on a bend in a narrow lane, a decision by the car driver to accelerate to pull over onto the nearside grass verge to give the motorcyclist more room was one of a number of apparently reasonable choices, such that the car driver had no liability in negligence for personal injury suffered by the motorcyclist.