Judge Rules Motorist Not to Blame for Pedestrian’s Life-Changing Injuries


Road accidents that change lives forever occur in a heartbeat, and discerning where responsibility for them lies can be a challenging task. However, in one case, a judge had no hesitation in exonerating a motorist of all blame for a collision that left a pedestrian with life-changing injuries.

The driver was travelling along an urban road when her vehicle made contact with the pedestrian, who was thrown into the air. Aged in his 30s at the time, he had no memory of the collision. His injuries were so severe that he is unable to make important decisions for himself. In seeking compensation from the driver on his behalf, his lawyers asserted that the collision was caused by her negligence.

After considering expert and eyewitness evidence given during a three-day trial, however, a judge found that the driver could have done no more to avoid the collision. She was travelling within the speed limit when the pedestrian ran into the road, colliding with the front nearside wing of her vehicle.

He was moving at about 10 mph and, although she applied the brakes and began to steer away, she had little or no time to react to his entirely unexpected presence in the road. In dismissing his claim, the judge found that the collision was, from the driver’s point of view, wholly unavoidable.

In seeking an explanation for his apparently irrational behaviour, the judge found that he ran into the road when upset, following an argument. He was probably under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The judge, however, emphasised that he did not rely on those findings in reaching the conclusion that the driver was blameless.

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