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100% liability outcome at preliminary issue trial for Spanish hit and run

In June 2016, JF, a serving army officer, was enjoying a holiday in Spain when he was struck by a vehicle whilst walking with friends to his campsite. He suffered a traumatic brain injury. The driver, who could not be identified, stopped briefly after the collision and then drove away from the scene. 

JF instructed Nicola Rostron, and her team, who represented him in a claim brought against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Spanish law was to be applied by the English Court. 

Throughout proceedings the claim was robustly contested. MIB asserted that the Claimant had been walking on the wrong side of the hard shoulder, and that the Claimant had failed to wear reflective clothing. Expert evidence was obtained from an accident reconstruction expert. A further expert liability report was obtained from a Spanish lawyer. The parties attended a preliminary issue trial at Manchester High Court on the issues of liability and contributory negligence under Spanish law. 

The Claimant and his five friends with him at the time of the accident provided oral evidence at Trial. In his Judgment His Honour Judge Sephton QC credited the witnesses in doing their best to assist the court. He stated that, when applying Spanish law, the presumption is that the unknown driver would be fully liable to the Claimant and he must thereafter ask himself whether the Defendant proved that the accident was due to the fault of the Claimant, or whether he should take account of contributory fault. In concluding his Judgment, HHJ Sephton QC found that the determining cause of the collision was the negligence of the driver and therefore the Claimant should succeed in full. This was a fantastic result for the Claimant especially given that he beat a Part 36 liability offer that had been made prior to the liability Trial. 

The Claimant was overjoyed with this outcome, commenting the win “still feels very surreal at the moment but so happy that it turned out like it did… It was a nerve wracking but great experience”.  

We are now continuing to represent our client in respect of quantum proceedings.

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