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DAS International Ltd v Manley, Court of Appeal, 15 October 2002

22 October 2002
The issues

Road traffic – avoiding pedestrian – flagging down approaching car.

The facts

The weather conditions were wet and dark. The Defendant was driving on a dual carriageway, when he saw a pedestrian on the side of the road. He swerved to his offside and hit the central reservation, bouncing off into a ditch on the nearside. He got out and walked back up to the carriageway to try to flag down help. The Claimant’s jeep approached the scene. Its driver saw the Defendant and swerved to avoid him, also hitting the central reservation, bouncing off and landing in the ditch. The Claimant argued that the Defendant was in the centre of the nearside lane, when flagging down help. A witness thought that the Defendant had been standing between 2 or 3 feet into the lane. The Judge found the Defendant’s actions reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances.

The Claimant appealed.

The decision

1. The Judge had to measure the Defendant’s actions against those of the reasonable person, in relation to the likelihood and significance of the risk or harm.

2. It was unreasonable for the Defendant to have moved from the side of the road into the lane, however far in he moved.

3. The Judge’s view that the Defendant was not negligent was wrong.

Appeal allowed.

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