Until now, Davis v Scroggins (2006) has been the authority that has helped filtering riders claim 100% liability in filtering crashes. This case was particularly relevant as the filtering rider was travelling at speed despite the fact that he was travelling in excess of 50MPH whilst filtering.
However, yesterday a new case was reported on appeal where because of the high speed, the rider was held 80% liable with the car driver held only 20% liable.
Whilst filtering cases have to be judged on merit, and if speed is kept to a reasonable level it should make no difference, just be aware that there is now a new weapon in the defendants armoury.
BURTON v EVITT (2011)
CA (Civ Div) (Sir Anthony May (President QBD), Black LJ, Kitchin LJ) 18/10/2011
PERSONAL INJURY - ROAD TRAFFIC
APPORTIONMENT : DRIVERS : MOTORCYCLES : ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS : APPORTIONMENT OF LIABILITY : INABILITY OF DRIVER TO SEE BEHIND VEHICLE WHEN DRIVING
A driver was found to be 20 per cent liable for a road traffic accident caused when he turned whilst being unable to see an approaching motorcycle being driven quickly and overtaking other vehicles. Where a driver was unable to see what was behind him it was necessary for him to inch out to gain a better view.
The appellant (E) appealed against a decision that he had been negligent and was one-third responsible for a road traffic accident involving E and the respondent (B). E was driving his car at the front of a queue of traffic. He slowed down, looked in his mirror and saw nothing except a larger vehicle behind him. E, when almost at a standstill, then started to turn right into a car park. The driver of the vehicle behind E then saw a motorcycle, driven by B, at the corner of his vehicle, overtaking. B drove forwards, collided with E’s car and sustained severe injuries. At trial the judge found that B was driving at an unsafe speed and in such a way that he could not deal with an emergency and so was negligent. However, it was also found that it was E’s duty to move his car closer to, and perhaps over, the centre of the line in the road so that, using his wing mirror, he could have seen B approaching and that E’s failure to do so meant that he was causatively responsible for the accident. It was found that B was two-thirds responsible and E one-third responsible for the accident. E submitted that although any driver should have been aware of any other driver overtaking on the outside, he had slowed down and checked just before he turned and, to require more, was a counsel of perfection.
HELD: (1) It was common ground that in driving along such a road, there was a need to be particularly aware of the presence of motorcycles and that they might overtake lines of cars. E initially acted with considerable care but, when crawling, he could not see what might be coming up on the offside. As the size of the vehicle behind E’s car meant that E could not see clearly, he should have inched out. Where a driver could not see what was behind him, he had to take that step. E’s appeal in respect of negligence was therefore unsuccessful. (2) B’s negligence was of a very high order and contributed to what happened. The issue of blameworthiness of E and B required greater analysis than it received. Proper apportionment had to take into account the different negligence issues in respect of E and B. It was appropriate to set aside the trial judge’s apportionment and replace it with apportionment that B was 80 per cent and E 20 per cent liable.
Appeal allowed in part
So word of warning guys, be carefull with your speed when filtering