An 8 year-old boy suffered a serious brain injury after running out onto a single carriageway road and colliding with the defendant’s car. The boy had been looking back at his friend during this time and had failed to properly check the road for oncoming vehicles.
The defendant admitted to having seen the two boys at the side of the road, which the judge deemed to be of considerable importance.
The Judge pointed out that a motorist who is driving close to children playing on the pavement is under a duty to ensure that those children are aware of his presence before moving past them.
Based on the facts of this case, the defendant should have been aware that there was a substantial risk of the young boy running out across the road, and should have taken further precautions beyond diminishing her speed.
Her failure to do this amounted to negligence and she was held liable to the claimant in damages. However, the award of damages to the claimant was reduced by 20% based on contributory negligence.
It was reasonable to expect an ordinary child of around 8 years of age to be aware of the importance of looking left and right for oncoming traffic before crossing a road such as this one.