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Published On: August 14, 2018 | Blog | 0 comments

£147,000 agreed for injured pedestrian

I was instructed in a claim for injuries arising out of a road traffic accident. On 4 November 2016 my client was crossing Lyndhurst Way, SE15 when he was struck by a car travelling from his left. My client had nearly reached the far side of the road when the impact occurred.

Unfortunately my client suffered multiple injuries as a result including a serious abdominal injury; a minor head injury; a broken arm, and a fracture of his right knee. The insurers admitted primary liability. However, contributory negligence remained a live issue.

The insurers initially offered to settle for £100,000. The offer was too low and was rejected on my advice. However, the case was not without risks. Partly because of his lifelong learning difficulties my client was pliable and his evidence therefore potentially vulnerable on cross examination. He was alone at the time of injury, and the only other witness (a passer-by) was reluctant to assist.

Our barrister advised that a finding of contributory negligence was all but inevitable. My client had failed to see the car before the collision. On balance, he would have done so had he looked properly to his left before leaving the central refuge. This was said because the road in question is a long straight one, and even with the car travelling at speed, he would have almost certainly have been visible. However, in respect of apportionment, there was little doubt that the motorist would be found to bear by far the larger share of responsibility.

The driver’s failures to observe my client or react to his presence were very serious ones. This was not a case of a failure to react sufficiently quickly to a suddenly emerging hazard. The motorist had a long opportunity to observe my client as he walked virtually the entire width of the road. He had ample opportunity to take effective action but took none at all. Moreover, he was evidently travelling at excessive speed.

This was far from a case of a pedestrian stepping out into the path of a vehicle. Overall my client was arguably guilty of only a relatively minor misjudgement. He did, after all, almost make it safely across. While it was possible that a court would agree with the insurer’s suggestion my client was 25% to blame, a more realistic figure was between 10%-25% or the middle ground of 15% for the sake of negotiation.

Turning to value, the orthopaedic injuries were described by the medical expert as “intrusive but not severely disabling”. The abdominal injury was serious. My client suffered a ruptured stomach ulcer which would have been avoided but for the trauma of the accident. However, there were no long term sequalae post-surgery. There were no significant financial losses consequential to the head injury or respiratory problems as reported by my client post-accident.

Allowing for an element of future care (my client was, as a matter of fact, more reliant on family following the accident and expert evidence supported that he required some future assistance) a figure of £125,000 in hand (net of contribution) was thought to be a good settlement and was successfully negotiated by me. Allowing for 15% contributory negligence, the settlement figure equates to around £147,000 gross and represents a very good result for my client.

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