‘Who do you blame for...?’

The High Court in Belfast recently considered an issue of liability arising out of a road traffic accident which occurred in February 2012.

The injured party had been out with some friends in a bar. Having consumed a significant quantity of alcohol, he was queueing for a taxi while his friends went for something to eat.  The injured party said he was the subject of a homophobic verbal abuse followed by a push from behind into the roadway.

The Defendant, who had been assisting at a music event in a local bar that night, and was driving home in his car with a trailer attached containing musical equipment.

The injured party came into contact with the trailer and was dragged along the road, suffering significant injuries.   Given the hustle and bustle of ‘closing time’, the Defendant was not aware that any impact had even occurred and drove on for about a minute before realising something was amiss.

The Court concluded that the a reasonable driver would have been likely to react in much the way that the Defendant acted and, on  the evidence, dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim.

In a fault-based system, it is essential to establish blame before one can ground liability.  In this case, the Defendant was not to blame and so the Plaintiff’s claim inevitably failed.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, call our specialist personal injury lawyers now on 028 9032 2998 to find out if you might be entitled to make a claim for compensation. There is no charge for initial telephone advices. 


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