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Parkinson v Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police, Court of Appeal, 10 June 2004

8 July 2004
The issues

Road traffic – intoxicated pedestrian knocked over – Contributory Negligence – Permission to Appeal

The facts

This matter came before the Court of Appeal as a renewed Application for permission to appeal the decision of the Judge at Cardiff County Court. In that case the Claimant claimed damages for very serious injuries following an accident on 28 February 1998. He had walked out into the path of a car which was driven by a police officer. The Claimant was intoxicated and should have been aware of the presence of the car. The police officer was, however, driving at 40 mph past the parked taxi late at night in a built up area and the Judge found could and should have anticipated that there might be pedestrians in that sort of condition in the vicinity at the time. He found for the Claimant but apportioned liability 65% against the Defendant and 35% against the Claimant.

The Defendant appealed. The Defendant made an Application for permission to appeal.

The decision

1. Courts have repeatedly said that motor vehicles were dangerous instruments causing injury to others. The consequences of the negligence of the driver of the car was very substantially to increase the extent of the injury suffered by the Claimant. The Judge had heard evidence to the effect that the secondary and tertiary injuries which were the serious injuries would have been avoided altogether if the police car had been driven at an appropriate speed even though the accident might not have been avoided. The Judge found that without fault on the Claimant’s part there would have been no accident but that without fault on the police officer’s part the injuries would have been limited to less severe injuries. The Defendant’s fault was causative and more potent.
2. This was an impeccable way for the Judge to approach the question of apportionment.

Application for permission to appeal refused.

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