Identifying where blame lies for road accidents that happen in seconds is often no easy matter. However, as a High Court case showed, expert lawyers are more than capable of cutting through such issues to ensure that their injured clients are justly compensated.
The case concerned a man who was struck a glancing blow by a van as he used a pedestrian crossing to make his way over a busy junction. He suffered a catastrophic brain injury and has since been cared for in a nursing home. He had no recollection of the collision and there were virtually no independent witnesses to what happened.
There was no suggestion that the van driver had jumped a red light, but it was alleged that he cut a corner in an attempt to cross the junction ahead of oncoming traffic and that he accelerated sharply. The driver denied that he was responsible for the accident. He claimed that the pedestrian stepped off the central reservation, falling into the side of his van and giving him no chance to stop.
Proceedings were launched on the man's behalf and negotiations were entered into with the van driver's insurers. They agreed to pay 60 per cent of the full value of the man's claim and to make a £100,000 interim payment of damages to tide him over until the full amount of his award, which was bound to be very substantial, was assessed. In approving the settlement, the Court paid tribute to the fair-minded manner in which both sides had assessed the litigation risks involved in the case.