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Responsibility of minors for their injuries in road traffic accidents

7 February 2013

Insurers Churchill are appealing a High Court ruling that their insured was 100% responsible for knocking over a 13 year old girl who was listening to music as she walked home along a narrow unlit country lane.

The claimant was walking along a grass verge when she was clipped by the defendant’s vehicle. Insurers accepted their client should bear some of the blame but argue the claimant should have been wearing a high-viz vest to make her more visible. However the main contributing factor appears to have been the claimant listening to music on earphones. If she had heard the defendant’s vehicle would she have stepped back further onto the grass verge?

This case is particularly distressing as the claimant has sustained life changing injuries. The courts are reluctant to criticise minors. However, given that the claimant was apparently mature enough to walk home on her own, on appeal, the court may be inclined to agree she was of an age to appreciate the risks.

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