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Title: Must I accept 50/50 for roundabout accident?

Date: 12 November 2014

Question

I was involved in an accident whilst correctly riding around a roundabout. I was positioned to take the right hand lane of the road ahead. The road that I intended to take was a one way two lane road. I was aware of a car to my left which was clearly positioned to travel in the same direction as me but in the left hand lane.

As I accelerated to leave the roundabout and proceed up the hill in the right hand lane the car driver suddenly changed direction in an attempt to stay on the roundabout. In doing so she collided with me. I saw her car coming into my lane but was unable to avoid the accident. My solicitor wants me to accept 50% of the blame but I do not feel that I am in any way to blame. I feel as though I am being forced into accepting liability for accident that was not my fault.

Is it too late to change solicitors?

Tanya Ward, Newbury

Answer

There is case law which deals with accidents that occur on roundabouts. For example, the outcome in the Court of Appeal case of Grace -v- Tanner (2003) means that the worst case scenario (based on the facts that you have given me) would be a liability split of 50/50. This does not mean that your solicitor should not be aiming to achieve 100% in your favour but it does mean that he/she has to be realistic in light of the case law from higher courts. That said, each case is dealt with on its own facts and merits.

You should not feel that you are being forced into accepting an offer. Your solicitor should take time to explain the various factors affecting any potential settlement so that you understand why you are receiving the advice that you are. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not to accept the offer that you are being presented with.

If you feel that your solicitor has not fought hard enough on your behalf and simply wants the case off his or her desk then you are of course entitled to change solicitors. Whether or not this will be economical will depend on the specific funding arrangements, value and stage of the claim.

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