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Akers and Others v Thorne and the Motor Insurers Bureau, Guildford County Court

15 May 2002
The issues

Seatbelt – drunk driver – Claimant’s knowledge of driver’s state and of driver’s lack of insurance – MIB’s duty to meet the award.

The facts

The First Defendant was the driver of a car which had a serious accident killing the Claimant. He was uninsured. He had been drinking. The MIB argued that the death had been caused or contributed to by the deceased’s own actions in that he knew or ought to have known that the First Defendant had been drinking and was unable to drive safely and secondly, that he had not worn a seatbelt and thirdly, that he knew or ought to have known that the driver was uninsured. If the last point was proved, the MIB argued that it had no responsibility to meet any award of damages.

The decision

1. The First Defendant had drunk and smoked Cannabis in the presence of the deceased, who therefore ought to have known of the risk of getting in the car. A reduction of 20% in the award would be made on this ground.

2. The deceased had not worn a seatbelt. A further deduction of 25% would be made on this ground – the total deduction being 45%.

3. On the balance of probabilities, the MIB had failed to show that the deceased had known that the Defendant was uninsured.

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