Road Accidents - Judges Are Experts at Deciding Where Blame Lies

When two vehicles collide, it is only too common for their drivers to blame each other. However, one case concerning an accident in which a little girl suffered catastrophic injuries shows the lengths to which judges will go in uncovering the truth.

The girl was just two years old and was a passenger in a Volvo car driven by her aunt when it collided head-on with a van at a combined speed of about 80 miles per hour. The aunt and the van driver each claimed that the other was responsible for the accident. The aunt said that the van driver had veered onto her side of the road after misjudging a bend. However, he insisted that it was she who had caused the collision when distracted on her mobile phone and tired after a long night shift.

The High Court noted that the collision had occurred on the Volvo's side of the road and preferred the aunt's account of the accident. In those circumstances, the van driver and the owner of his vehicle were liable to compensate the injured child. The Court, however, also found that the aunt had negligently placed the girl in an unsuitable child seat, in which she had also not been properly secured.

Remaining issues in the case – including the amount of the child's compensation and whether the aunt's negligence in respect of the child seat had caused or contributed to her injuries – have yet to be determined.

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