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Wells v Trinder CA

16 July 2002
The issues

RTA – pedestrian – contributory negligence.

The facts

This was the Defendant’s Appeal against Judgment in favour of the Claimant at Trial. The Claimant had been crossing the road which was 12 yards wide, having just been dropped at a bus stop. She was hit by the Defendant’s car. The Defendant admitted that he had seen a car and two people standing by it, but did not slow down because there was no indication of any danger. He said that he first saw the Claimant when she was running across the road wearing dark clothes 10 metres away from him and that he could not avoid a collision. The Judge rejected his evidence and found that he was negligent in that he was driving too fast and should not have been driving with merely dipped headlights. He found no contributory negligence on the part of the Claimant.

The decision

1. The Judge could not be criticised with regard to his finding of primary liability in respect of the Defendant’s speed.

2. He was entitled to find that the Defendant should have been driving with full beam, since evidence had been given that there were long spells along the road in which there were no oncoming vehicles. A prudent driver should always have full lights on, unless he was at risk of blinding oncoming vehicles.

3. On the facts, it was clear that the Claimant should have seen the oncoming vehicle and should have taken steps to try and avoid the collision. The Claimant could not be acquitted of all responsibility. She had a duty to ensure that there was a clear road to her left and right. Appeal allowed to the extent that Claimant will be found 25% liable for her injuries.

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