A court has dismissed a road traffic accident claim by a driver who lost control of his car when he was suddenly confronted by a stationary vehicle, after driving around a sharp bend in the road. The claimant’s car had skidded off the road, crashed into a brick wall and turned over onto its roof.
The court heard that the claimant had been driving down a steep road in icy conditions and had attempted to avoid a stationary vehicle, which had come to a halt while it was driving up on the other side of the road. The claimant blamed the stationary car driver for halting at that particular position in the road and sought damages for negligent obstruction, which was claimed to be the cause of the accident.
The court accepted that the stationary vehicle had caused an obstruction. However, the defendant had experienced a difficulty in trying to drive his car up the hill in the icy conditions and realised there was little time to take preventative action as the claimant’s car approached.
Driving too fast downhill
The defendant also argued that the claimant had been driving too fast on an icy road and had failed to control his vehicle. The court held that the claimant was driving too fast while going downhill. The defendant had attempted to pull his car further into the side of the road, which would give more room for the oncoming vehicle to pass. It was also found that the claimant appeared to be overly confident about his ability to pass the stationary vehicle.
The claimant ultimately failed to prove the defendant driver had been negligent for stopping in the road. The judge found that the claimant was “more to blame for the accident than any other cause” pointing out that the claimant’s decision not to slow down despite the icy road conditions was a key factor.
The judge added that, even if the court had found any liability on the part of the stationary vehicle driver, the claimant would have been held to 75% of the liability for contributory negligence.