A court has dismissed a claim by a motorist that a vehicle suddenly appeared on a roundabout and collided into the rear of the claimant’s car, causing damage and personal injury. The defending driver denied that a collision had taken place, stating there was no damage to his car and accused the claimant of deliberately stopping with the intention of causing a accident.
The claimant said he was moving off after the lights had turned green at a third set of lights on a large roundabout. It was at this point that the claimant alleges he saw the defendant’s car appear behind him for the first time - travelling at a speed of 40 - 60mph - just before crashing into the rear of his vehicle.
The defendant argued that he had stopped behind the claimant’s car at the first set of traffic lights controlling entry onto the roundabout. It was at this point the defendant had noticed the claimant staring at him in his rear view mirror, which he later believed was an attempt to read and write down the registration number from his car plates. After the first set of lights changed to green, both vehicles moved onto the roundabout but the claimant’s car was driving slowly and erratically, and straddling two lanes of traffic.
The defendant argues that he was still directly behind the claimant’s car at every stage and also when they stopped at the third set of lights showing red. When those lights became green both vehicles moved off again but after a short distance the claimant suddenly performed an emergency stop without any reason. However, the defendant was able to bring his car to a stop without a collision taking place and with no damage to his car.
Judge entirely rejected the claimant’s account
Following extensive cross-examination the Judge dismissed the claimant’s account of events, saying it was “implausible” for the defendant’s car to not be following behind him given the system of traffic lights in operation. The judge said that the damage to the claimant’s car would have been much more severe if the defendant had been travelling at the alleged high speed. Commenting that he found the claimant had been “untruthful in many respects of his evidence” and fully accepting the defendant’s account, the judge agreed that the claimant had in fact suddenly braked and dismissed the case.
Upon dismissal of the claim, an application was made for permission to enforce a costs order on the grounds that the claim was “fundamentally dishonest” and clearly founded on the false basis that a collision had taken place, which the court had rejected in its entirety.
The Judge found that, having entirely accepted the defendant’s account and entirely rejected the claimant’s account, it was difficult to argue that the claimant had any reasonable grounds for believing that a collision had occurred. On that basis, the judge considered that there was such a lack of truth in the account, which the claimant had provided that it was correct to decide to give permission for the costs to be enforced.