Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED September 12, 2003

Where the claimant had run across a dual carriageway in front of the defendant's car, the assessment of relative blame for the collision was 60 per cent to the defendant driver and 40 per cent to the claimant.Trial of liability in a claim for damages for personal injury brought by the claimant ('G') arising out of serious injuries which she sustained on 20 April 1995 when she was hit by a motor car driven by the defendant ('D') as she was crossing a dual carriageway. G was one of a group of ten youngsters who were attempting to cross a busy dual carriageway. Some of the youngsters had already crossed the road and were gesticulating to the remainder to cross. D had seen some of the boys crossing and some youngsters plainly waiting to cross and join their friends but carried on at the same pace. G, who was aged 14 years, ran into the road and collided with D's car sustaining a head injury.HELD: (1) D was to be judged by the standards of the reasonably prudent driver. Applying that standard he was at fault in two respects: (i) faced with the sight of two children of school age darting across a busy dual carriageway, and a further group left behind waiting to cross and the shouting and gesticulating which he saw or ought to have seen, D ought to have anticipated that more might well follow, and reduce speed accordingly; and (ii) he ought to have sounded his horn to warn those remaining on the nearside of his approach, in particular G. Such action would probably have halted her progress and brought her to her senses and would not have resulted in her being struck by the car. (2) Although D bore primary liability, G was partly responsible for the collision. It had been an act of folly for her to set off across the dual carriageway with heavy traffic. She had not looked to her right before setting off and had continued running in front of D's vehicle. (3) The major part of blame fell marginally on the driver in this case. He had fair warning of what was likely to and did unfold, but failed to exercise proper case to avoid the collision. The assessment of relative blame was 60 per cent to D and 40 per cent to G.Judgment accordingly.

[2003] EWHC 441 (QB)