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Title: Liability for accident allegedly on chevrons

Date: 10 March 2016

Accident on chevrons

Q.

While filtering past a line of stationery traffic, a car pulled out from my left and hit me sending me off, fortunately not into anyone else or street furniture! I would have thought this was straightforward blame on him. But the problem is I was in the area to the right of the stationery vehicles and a chevroned area with broken white lanes to my right. The driver who hit me claims I was in the chevroned area but I definitely was not. Even if I was does this make a difference or is this just a red herring?

James Davies, Abergavenny

A.

The Highway Code states that areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road are there to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right. If the area is bordered by a broken white line you should not enter the area unless it is “necessary” and you can see that it is “safe to do so”. If the area is marked with chevrons and bordered by solid white lines you must not enter it except in an emergency.

As the third party is claiming you were within a chevroned area liability needs to be considered very carefully with attention paid to witness evidence, possible cctv, relative speeds, indication and so on. If it is found by the court that you were in the chevroned area then contributory negligence will most likely apply.

However I can foresee an interesting legal argument over the definition of “necessary” – necessary to make progress would be your argument although note the “necessary” and “safe” – your opponent is bound to argue it was not necessary and clearly wasn’t safe as there was an accident!

As far as I know the “necessary” element has never been tested in court and realistically this is likely to be a case of shared blame. It would likely take a very valuable claim in order for it to be worth taking the necessary argument to court where even a small percentage reduction equates to a lot of money. I would need to see all the documents to advise fully on any liability split.

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