AB (by his mother and litigation friend CD) v Lisa Main [2015] EWHC 3183

A motorist who failed to keep proper observation when two young boys were playing at the side of the road as she approached them was liable for the serious brain injuries sustained by one of the boys who moved into the road and collided with her car. Although she was driving at a reasonable speed and genuinely believed that she was taking reasonable precautions, she had made a series of errors of judgment which cumulatively amounted to negligence.

The claimant, then aged eight, moved out into the pavement, colliding with the defendant’s car. Her evidence was that she had been travelling at 25-30mph in a 40mph zone and had seen the two boys, when one boy had suddenly run into the road without looking. His friend gave evidence that he was going to retrieve a bottle on the other side of the road.

Davies J held that the relevant standard of care was a reasonably careful driver, who would be armed with common sense and experience of the way that pedestrians and especially children were likely to behave. A motorist driving near children playing on the pavement had a duty to ensure that the children were aware of his presence before driving past them. The claimant’s conduct – moving to the centre of the pavement, turning to look at oncoming traffic and looking at something on the other side of the road – should have caused the defendant to appreciate that there was a real, significant and increasing risk of his running across the road. She ought to have kept the boys under closer observation, and either to have taken her foot off the accelerator and covered her brakes, or to have sounded her horn. A child of the claimant’s age could be expected to know the importance of checking for oncoming traffic before crossing, but was liable to become distracted. A 20% reduction in damages for contributory negligence was therefore appropriate.

December 28, 2015 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases