Dursan v J Sainsbury PLC [2015] EWHC 233 (QB)

Fore Street in Edmonton, where the accident took place. Credit: Google Maps.

The proceedings in this case were raised by the widow of a pedestrian, Mr Dursan, who suffered fatal injuries after being struck by a lorry whilst attempting to cross a two-lane road between lines of queuing traffic.

It was agreed by all parties that once Mr Dursan had begun to cross the road, the lorry driver would only have been able to see him through his nearside mirrors.

The claimant's argument was that the lorry driver should have made a second and final check of these mirrors before moving forward. This line of argument was unsuccessful.

The judge accepted the driver’s evidence that he had checked all of his mirrors before moving the lorry, and that these checks revealed nothing to alert him to the possible presence of pedestrians in front. Further, while the circumstances of the evening in question (dark, rainy conditions; stopping and starting traffic) demanded a significant degree of vigilance from the driver, the fact that he had failed to check his nearside mirror for a second time did not make him responsible for the accident.

Thus – Mr Dursan’s widow failed to establish any lack of reasonable care on the part of the lorry driver. Responsibility for the accident lay with the victim as he had failed to take appropriate precautions for his own safety on a dark and rainy evening, which could have included, for example, wearing lighter coloured clothing or using the pedestrian crossing.

The full decision can be viewed here

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