Spiller v Brown (1999)

Ms Spiller was hit by Mr Brown's car whilst she was crossing a road.

She had alighted from a bus and attempted to cross the road in front of the bus. Mr Brown was driving in the same direction as the bus and overtook it whilst it was stationary at the stop. By the time he saw Ms Spiller, he was unable to take evasive action and there was a collision.

On appeal, it was held that it was clear from the transcript from the case at first instance that Mr Brown had not seen Ms Spiller until split seconds before the collision occurred.  On that basis, the Trial Judge was entitled to find Brown negligent by failing to keep a proper look-out since had he kept a proper lookout, he would have seen Spiller emerge from the front of the bus.

The appeal court did, however, find that the trial Judge had been wrong not to find the Claimant contributory negligent.

The Green Cross Code Para. 30 (detailed at paragraph 7 of the Highway Code) states "a pedestrian should never cross the road directly behind or in front of a bus, but should wait until the bus has moved off and the road can be seen clearly in both directions." 

Ms Spiller was under a duty of care to herself to ensure that it was safe for her to cross the road – 50% would be the proper assessment of each party’s liability.

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