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Title: I wasnt speeding but is it my fault?

Date: 10 October 2014

Question

I was travelling along a country road at 50 mph and was just exiting along a sweeping bend when I was suddenly confronted with a large farm vehicle emerging from a road to my left. The vehicle was moving into the road blocking more and more of my path and I thought that the driver would see me and didn’t think I could safely stop so I attempted to go around the front of it. The driver continued to emerge from the side road and the gap that I was heading for closed before I could get through.

I attempted to brake knowing that a collision was inevitable. I ended up driving into the vehicle. The police are blaming me for the accident and want me to go on a driver improvement course. I do not feel that I was to blame for the accident as I was travelling within the speed limit. Am I likely to be successful if I make a claim for compensation? My insurer’s solicitor says it’s my fault as well. I broke my ankle and damaged the soft tissue in my leg as a result of the accident which has kept me off work.

Chris Graves, Bournemouth

Answer

I would need to see the police report and any witness evidence before being able to advise properly on these circumstances but your case definitely deserves investigation. Although you are unlikely to receive 100% compensation you may well succeed. A “successful” claim is one in which the other side makes a compensation payment or makes a concession, however small, in relation to liability, resulting in the payment of damages.

I suspect you are likely to attract a significant amount contributory negligence which will reduce your damages. I note that you were travelling within the speed limit but it will be argued by your opponent that this was simply too fast for the circumstances based on the fact that you were travelling around what sounds like a rather blind bend with a side road just around the corner. If this is a route that you have travelled before it will be argued that you should have been aware that a vehicle could have been emerging. This needs careful consideration once armed with all the evidence.

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