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Title: He drove pick-up at my nephew!

Date: 22 August 2012

Question

My nephew was riding his dirt bike on some private land owned by a builder who is building a small estate on it. The builder saw James and deliberately drove at him in his pick-up – apparently James has been told off by him before. James was taken to hospital with multiple injuries. I think James should pursue a claim against the builder but James is worried that because he was on private land and not on the road his insurers won’t pay? Is this right?

Richard (surname withheld)

Answer

I assume that this has been reported to the police as this appears to be an assault and the builder could be prosecuted for causing grievous bodily harm. If it was private land then insurance is not a requirement. The issue is that although James was officially trespassing (which is not a crime) the builder still owed him a duty of care to take reasonable care for his safety which has clearly been breached.

It will be interesting to see if the builder’s motor insurer will cover this claim as it was not on the road. If not then he can either be sued personally or if that fails a claim could be advanced to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation (as the builder used the vehicle as a weapon). More compensation will be achieved in the civil claim as opposed to the CICA one which compensates on a tariff basis.

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