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Title: Blind bend country lane accident

Date: 19 August 2013

Question

I was on a national speed limit country road with lovely sweeping bends. I came round a fairly sharp long bend at about 40 miles per hour and was suddenly confronted with this farming quad with a trailer going really slowly, I guess 10 or 15 miles per hour but I am not really sure. There were to young lads on the quad. The one on the back must have heard me as he turned and when he saw me he put his arm out to the right. I thought he was saying for me to go past.

It all happened so quickly so I looked past and couldn’t see anything so rather than crash into the back of them I swerved right. As I did so they pulled across me and I collided with the quad. All 3 of us were injured, with me being the worst by far. Their insurer (a well-known farmer insurer) is claiming that the lad who put his arm out was indicating right which I ignored. They also say I was going too quickly. I am wondering what to do to persuade them I was right as my solicitor does not appear to have much confidence in the case.

Colin Neat

Answer

There are a number of issues in this case and I really would need to see the police report, the road layout of the accident scene and its approach and witness statements to advise accurately. However the main issues appear to be your speed, the bend, the speed of the quad and the manner of indication or waving past, whichever it was. Starting with the manner of indication; I do think that a court will accept that the arm signal was indicating the intended manoeuvre rather than waving you past for the simple reason being the indication was followed by the manoeuvre.

Whether it was satisfactory is a different matter. To be road legal the quad should have had indicators and if towing a trailer the trailer should also have been fitted with indicators. I do not know if the trailer had indicators or if it did whether they were displayed. I am also not sure whether this would have made a difference in any event as all this happened very quickly. You may say that had you seen a right hand indicator then you would have been alerted to the intention to turn right but would it not have been too late in any event due to the speed differential? This will be a matter for careful consideration of speeds, reaction times, distances and so on.

I think you are at risk of an allegation of excessive speed on the approach to what sounds like a fairly blind bend as you should always be in a position to stop safely should a hazard present itself. What is clear at this stage as this is a complex case that needs proper investigation. If your solicitors are not experts in cases such as this (and I see far too many cases being dealt with by generalists with a mixed case load of conveyancing, wills and personal injury!) then you must seek expert advice.

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