Road traffic accident

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Accidents on roundabouts usually come down to one person’s word against the other. Very often with both parties make unintentional errors of judgment and a 50/50 split seems inevitable, particularly following Grace v Tanner.  However, consider the evidence carefully.

The accident took place on a roundabout leading to the A127 dual carriageway. 

The defendant entered the roundabout in the left hand lane of 2, intending to take the 3rd exit off the roundabout.  The road markings on the roundabout indicated that this was the correct lane for the defendant’s intended route. 

The claimant was travelling in the same direction in the right lane of the roundabout, intending to exit the roundabout at the second exit. 

A collision occurred when the claimant attempted to take the second exit off of the roundabout and in doing so collided with the defendant’s vehicle which was continuing around the roundabout in the outside lane to the 3rd exit.

The claimant alleged that the defendant was negligent as he in the wrong lane and had failed to give way to his correctly proceeding vehicle.  The defendant maintained that he was in the correct lane for his intended route, that he was indicating right as he travelled around the roundabout and that the claimant had wrongly assumed that he was taking the second exit. 

In evidence the claimant admitted that he was aware of the defendant’s vehicle as he had overtaken it and he admitted that he ‘assumed’ that the defendant was taking the second exit onto the dual carriageway.   He also admitted that he was concentrating on the road and traffic ahead when he tried to exit the roundabout.   He alleged that the defendant “must have realised he was in the wrong lane” and had tried to move over and collided with his vehicle.   

Having reviewed the images of the incident location it was clear that both the claimant and defendant were both in the correct lanes although the road markings were ambiguous.

At trial the defendant gave evidence consistent with this statement.  By contrast, the claimant highlighted that he ‘believed’ that the defendant had no indicator on.  On cross examination our Counsel questioned the claimant as to whether he agreed that this was a ‘deduction’ or ‘assumption’ that he had made rather than a specific memory and the claimant also admitted that he had ‘cut in’ to take his exit.

The Judge found as fact that the defendant was indicating at the time that the claimant tried to exit the roundabout.  As a result he found the claimant 100% to blame and dismissed the claim entirely.