24 February 2020

International Cases

Cheng Zhang v. Stephen Farrel



Motor Vehicles

When driving in city, one must anticipate that pedestrians will cross road, if they see a gap in the traffic

Present action arises out of a road traffic accident which occurred at the junction of Merrion Row and Merrion Street Upper in the city of Dublin. While crossing the top of Merrion Street Upper, the plaintiff was hit by the defendant’s car, which had turned left into Merrion Street Upper from Merrion Row. In present case, issue for determination is Defendant’s responsibility for causation of accident or whether plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence

Court viewed the CCTV recording at normal speed which was taken looking down Mount Street Upper towards junction with Merrion Row, which shows the impact, the court is satisfied that there was no evidence of speed on part of Defendant shown in that recording. Car appeared to come to a halt quickly after the impact. In facts of present case, court found that, Defendant was not speeding at the time that he made the left turn into Mount Street Upper. Court was satisfied that Plaintiff was walking at normal speed across Mount Street Upper. She did not run out in front of the defendant’s vehicle.

It is clear from the engineer’s photographs that each of parties had a good line of sight of approach of the other. Plaintiff stated that she saw the Defendant approach with his indicator flashing. She thought that he had seen her and was going to let her proceed across the road. She was very surprised when tDefendant kept coming towards her and struck her. Defendant had a clear view of the junction. Plaintiff was there to be seen walking across junction. She had been on road for approximately six seconds prior to impact. She had walked across two thirds of the road. However, perhaps because he was glancing to his left, Defendant did not see her until the moment of impact. This would explain why there was no evidence of braking prior to the impact. Simple fact is that Plaintiff was there to be seen and if Defendant had been keeping a proper lookout, he would have seen her prior to the impact.

Even though the traffic lights were green in favour of Defendant as he approached the junction that is not conclusive of question of liability. When driving in city, one must anticipate that pedestrians will cross the road if they see a gap in the traffic. A driver must watch the road carefully when coming to a junction. Court was satisfied that, Defendant did not keep a proper lookout when turning into Mount Street Upper. In these circumstances, Defendant must bear greater share of blame for this accident.

However, Plaintiff elected to cross road when a pedestrian light was showing red against her. She could easily have stopped and pressed the button for pedestrian lights and waited until she had a “green man” in her favour. In electing to cross road when she did, not only did she act in breach of Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997, but she also failed to take reasonable care for her own safety. Plaintiff felt that she was not in danger, because she assumed that Defendant had seen her and was going to let her cross the road. Unfortunately, he had not seen her and for this reason, he collided with her as he made left turn into Mount Street Upper. In instant circumstances, Court found that, Defendant, 55% responsible for causation of accident and Plaintiff is found guilty of contributory negligence in amount of 45%.

Tags : Accident Causation Contributory negligence

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