Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED October 29, 2003

On the facts, the claimant had not been conrtributorily negligent for a road traffic accident that occurred whilst his car was parked on the inside lane of the A18 following a breakdown.The claimant was involved on 23 December 1998 in a road traffic accident in which his vehicle was struck by the defendant. The claimant's car was parked on the inside lane of the A18, there was no hard-shoulder on the road and his hazard lights were on. The defendant admitted seeing the claimant's vehicle from 200 yards away but believed it to be moving. The defendant then overtook other vehicles and returned to the inside lane. He then realised that the claimant's vehicle was stationary but was unable to avoid a collision. In other proceedings the claimant stated that shortly before the accident occurred, he had had difficulty with his vehicle and that he had continued driving for a short distance before it broke down. He further stated that he got out of the vehicle to examine it before re-entering it. The claimant suffered from retrograde amnesia and was at the date of the present case unable to remember the accident. The defendant admitted that he was negligent, but submitted that the claimant was contributorily negligent in that: (i) he drove his vehicle when he knew that there was a risk of it breaking down; (ii) he failed to park off the road or as far off the road as possible; and (iii) he had remained in the vehicle rather then leaving it unoccupied.HELD: (1) There was no contributory negligence by the claimant. (2) It was not unreasonable for the claimant to have continued driving his vehicle. (3) The claimant's vehicle had not constituted a dangerous obstruction. The claimant's vehicle was clearly visible, with its hazard lights on and there was no evidence to show that the claimant had any choice in leaving the vehicle in the position that it was in. (3) It was not established that the claimant had got back in to the vehicle for any other purpose then to start it or to assess his position. Nor had it been established how long the claimant was in the stationary vehicle before the collision occurred. In those circumstances it was not unreasonable for the claimant to have been in the vehicle at the time that the collision occurred.Judgment accordingly.