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Title: Accident with pedestrian

Date: 16 March 2016

Question

I have just received a letter from my insurance company which worries me and I would appreciate your guidance.

Last October I hit a pedestrian at a crossing. I was doing 25-30mph but misjudged the lights which turned to amber as I was too close to stop safely, and they turned to red as I went through them. This lad stepped out as soon as the light turned red looking the opposite way to the traffic. I slammed the brakes but clipped him. I stayed on. I asked him how he was and he said he was fine, just bruised and shaken.

The police investigation found we were both to blame, me for not stopping and him for stepping out without looking that it was safe. The letter from my insurer tells me he is claiming for whiplash and soft tissue damage.

I can't help but feel he is making up the injuries – he really did look fine. Surely there must be something I can do as I don’t want to lose my excess nor pay him compensation!

Max Evans

Answer

It seems that your insurer has received a letter of claim from this man’s lawyers which presumably states that you ran him over as he was correctly proceeding across the pedestrian crossing. Obviously one has to take into account his failure to wait until the path was clear and to look to check that it was safe to cross with the green man illuminated. You need to let your insurer know your version of events and suggest to them that they obtain the police report which you state will apportion blame between you. If he did actually sustain injuries his claim will likely succeed but it will be reduced significantly by virtue of his share of the blame.

In terms of you thinking he is making up the injuries he will need to be examined by an independent medical expert in order to prove the injuries. With whiplash and soft tissue injuries medical experts often have to rely on what they are told by the Claimant although a contemporaneous visit by the man to A&E or his GP is likely to be enough for him to be believed.

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