Court of Appeal held that the Defendant driver had not been liable for the Claimant pedestrian’s injuries in circumstances where the Claimant had been negligent in crossing the road.

The Claimant was walking home after an evening drinking in the pub. He used a pelican crossing to cross a main road. The carriageway in each direction was made up of three lanes. As the Claimant crossed the third lane of the west bound carriageway he was hit by the Defendant’s car.

There were two other cars on the road at the time of the accident – a Mini, that was stationary in the middle lane immediately before the pelican crossing, and another car, which had been travelling ahead of the Defendant’s car in the same lane. This car had crossed the pelican crossing without hitting the Claimant.

By the time the Defendant drove across the pelican crossing the lights were green in his favour. The Defendant was driving at 25-30 mph. The speed limit along the stretch of road was 40 mph. It was found that the lights had been green for a “significant period” when the Defendant reached the junction.

The Claimant claimed damages for a broken leg and shoulder caused by the Defendant’s alleged negligence.

At first instance the Judge dismissed the Claimant’s claim.

The Court found that the Defendant had been driving well within the speed limit when he approached the crossroads and had first seen the Claimant when he emerged from the front of the stationary Mini, by which point there had been nothing he could do to avoid the collision. The accident had been wholly caused by the Claimant’s foolish conduct in running across the road when the lights were against him.

The Claimant appealed, on the basis that although he accepted that he had been negligent in crossing the carriageway when he had, he claimed the Defendant driver had also been negligent in failing to see him when he started to cross the road. The Claimant submitted that if the Defendant had kept a proper lookout, he would have seen the Claimant at an earlier stage and could have slowed down to stop and avoid the accident.

The Claimant’s appeal was dismissed.

The Court of Appeal said that the original Trial Judge had failed to deal with the MOST IMPORTANT question which was whether the Defendant had been keeping a proper lookout when he was 50 – 60 yards from the junction and when the Claimant started to cross the road.

The Court of Appeal held that, on the evidence, the Defendant had no liability for the Claimant’s injuries. The Defendant’s failure to observe the Claimant before he became largely concealed by the stationary Mini had not amounted to negligence.