14th May 2014
A motor accident compensation award has been given to a Teesside mother after her car was hit by an emergency vehicle on its way to an incident.
49-year-old Caron Lake was turning into the car park at Kirkleatham Museum near Redcar to pick her daughter up from work in March last year when the incident happened. Even though Caron was indicating right to make the turn, ambulance driver Colin Hayden incorrectly believed that she actually intended to turn left to get out of his way, as the museum was closed at the time.
The turn into the car park was just after a bend as well, so Caron couldn't've expected to see the ambulance car, as it was in her blind spot. Additionally, Mr Hayden couldn't be certain that he had the siren on at the time – he knew that he had put it on when he began his emergency dash, but told Middlesbrough County Court that he often switched it off when roads were quiet because it was so loud.
The judge agreed with the prosecution that Mr Hayden – who has since retired – was 100 per cent to blame for the road traffic accident and made an award of £6,000 in motor accident compensation to Caron. He also ordered the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to pay £12,500 in court costs.
After the case, Caron told the Evening Gazette that "it was probably more frightening for [her] daughter, because she witnessed it from start to finish. She was a wreck. She thought she had seen her mum get killed in front of her eyes. She saw it all happen as if it was in slow motion."
She added that her "heart races" whenever she sees blue lights or hears a siren and that whenever she pulls into the museum, "it brings it all back". For their part, NEAS has announced that it will "review the full judgement from the court and implement any recommendations that arise as a result of this unfortunate incident".
A policeman from the northeast of the country is also hoping for a motor accident compensation award after his squad car crashed when they were following a suspicious vehicle.
He is making the car accident claim against Northumbria Police, as he believes that the car was faulty and he – and his colleague – have been unable to return to frontline work since the crash in August 2006. The force has denied liability and the judge has adjourned proceedings until a later date.