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Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Buck v Ainslie & CIS Insurance [2017] CSOH 73

A car driver who struck a pedestrian while driving along a country road at night was not in breach of her duty of reasonable care in a recent decision in the Court of Session. Leslie Buck was rendered paralysed as a result of the accident and his claim which was restricted to the issue of liability proceeded to proof against the car driver and her insurers in January of this year. However, Lady Carmichael found that the pursuer failed to establish that he had been visible at a point at which it would have been possible for the defender to take evasive action. The Court concluded  "I accept in any event that the first time the first defender saw the pursuer was, as she described, when she saw the shoe in her headlight, and infer that was at a point in time very close indeed to the collision.  I would not regard a split second decision to swerve rather than to continue straight on when encountering an unexpected hazard in conditions of darkness in the way that the first defender described as a breach of the duty to take reasonable care.  To do so would be to impose the standard of an ideal driver, rather than one taking reasonable care." The defenders were accordingly absolved in the action which was potentially worth in excess of £1million. A full copy of the opinion can found here.

Malcolm McGregor of Compass Chambers represented the defenders.

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