Bruce Silvester wins liability trial for tetraplegic Claimant

Bruce Silvester has been acting for the Claimant who was 19 years old when he was involved in a serious car accident while being driven by the First Defendant, a friend who was not authorised to drive the car by the owner. The Claimant sustained a spinal cord injury leading to tetraplegia. Liability was contested by Tradex Insurance Company Ltd, pursuant to section 151(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.  They relied upon the evidence of the First Defendant to allege that the Claimant ‘knew or had reason to believe that the vehicle was stolen or unlawfully taken’ because the First Defendant told him and/or it was obvious from the circumstances.  Having heard the evidence, Stadlen J. rejected the First Defendant’s evidence and found for the Claimant.  The importance of the case lies firstly in respect of the Claimant himself who has until now been completely dependent upon fairly basic care and accommodation provided by the state and will now be entitled to a very substantial award of damages.  Secondly, the decision confirms that the case of McMinn v. McMinn & Aioi Insurance Co. [2006] EWHC 827 (QBD, Keith J.) in relation to the interpretation of ‘excluded liability’ in s.151(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (cited in the notes to para.708 in Volume 90 of Halsbury’s Laws of England, 5th Ed.) was wrongly decided. 

Bruce Silvester was instructed by Irwin Mitchell.

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