School Accident - Walking into the path of a car
A Local Police officer referred a case to us following a road accident involving a school girl who had been knocked over by a car on her way home. Although the driver has stopped momentarily he had driven on and nobody had taken his number plate details. The Police officer had thought that there was nothing that could be done, and certainly without being able to identify the driver the Police could take no further action, but suggested the schoolgirl "Miss C" got her parents to speak to us for advice. Miss C had been walking from school, talking on her mobile phone. She stopped at a main road and looked both ways. She then began to cross the road but after two steps on the road was hit by a car coming from her right. As an intelligent and sensible 12 year old, we had no reason to disbelieve her and concluded that she probably did look both ways. In fact she was very clear about the traffic waiting for a bus to pull around some parked cars. She had clearly been paying some attention. The problem was that she had managed to walk in front of a car which she had somehow failed to see, and nobody could identify the car or the driver. In matters like this we deal with the Motor Insurers Bureau, a government sponsored body which compensates both the victims of uninsured and untraced drivers. Despite the fact that we could not identify the driver or his car the Motor Insurers Bureau effectively joined in the case as though they were his insurance company. We still of course had to show that the accident was not Miss C's fault, and that it was the drivers. Having considered Miss C's statement and the accident scene both ourselves and the Motor Insurers Bureau found it difficult to reconcile her version of events with the fact she was hit by the car. We concluded that the car had come out of a nearby side street whilst cars were waiting for the bus to pass as she looked to her left. Miss C still failed to see it and stepped into its path but the Courts are often on the pedestrians side in cases like this. The driver should have been alerted to the possibility of children crossing the road because of the large numbers coming out of school. More importantly the driver should have seen Miss C and taken action to slow down, swerve or avoid the accident. Miss C had to accept that the accident was partly her fault and her damages were reduced for her contributory negligence. But even though she had walked off the pavement into the path of a car which did not stop we won her claim and she received payment for her injuries.