Matthew Claxson, a Partner, in the Serious Injury and Fatal Incident team secured a six figure settlement for the family of a 22 year old man who died in a road crash.
We were instructed by the mother of a pedestrian who was killed by a car driver whilst crossing a road in London. This was a profound loss to the family as the pedestrian had previously been a survivor and given evidence to the Inquest on the London Bridge Terror Attack in 2017.
Details of the accident
The road crash circumstances were complex; the incident occured in the early hours whilst it was still dark, the pedestrian was wearing dark clothing, he had not used a nearby traffic light crossing, and his blood toxicology levels indicated he had consumed a quantity of alcohol.
Whilst there was no police prosecution against the car driver that did not prevent the family, who depended upon the pedestrian, from claiming against the car driver compensation. However, the insurance company for the car driver denied responsibility in the civil claim alleging that the pedestrian had walked into the road affording the car driver no opportunity to avoid the collision.
What Moore Barlow did
As part of the legal service provided to the family we had attended a Coroner’s Pre-Inquest Review Hearing into the road death at which point it came to our attention that there was CCTV from a passing London bus that captured all of the road traffic collision showing the pedestrian, whilst not using a pedestrian crossing, had in fact almost completed crossing the road when he was struck by the car driver. The car driver was also travelling in the outside lane when the nearside lane was empty. It later transpired that the car driver had taken cannabis mixed with prescription medication. As a result of this development the insurance company agreed to attend a Joint Settlement Meeting to explore a settlement of the civil claim.
At the Joint Settlement Meeting, we claimed on behalf of the pedestrian’s Estate under The Law Reform [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act 1934 for the value of the pedestrians damaged personal possessions, injury, and funeral expenses. This aspect was not controversial.
Fatal Accidents Act 1976
However, under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 those who relied upon the pedestrian for financial support and services within a certain class of persons can claim from the insurer for what is called a loss of dependency. The pedestrian was aged 22, not married and had no children. The pedestrian though did support his mother, and younger brother. It was our case that the financial and service support given by the pedestrian to his family would have increased over time absent his death. The insurance company disputed strongly that the family relied for support on the 22 year old pedestrian suggesting that he was independent and no one relied upon him or that support, if given, will have quickly tailed off.
The pedestrian and his family were originally from overseas, and in their specific culture, it was our case that it was the norm for the younger generation to send money up through their family chain. The pedestrian had supported his mother who lived in London with him. Witness statements were produced from members of the pedestrians family who confirmed the cultural norm and absent the incident would have continued to have done so.
At the Joint Settlement Meeting, spanning some eight hours, a six figure settlement was finally agreed, reflecting arguments over responsibility for the collision and the level on which the pedestrian will have supported his brother and mother.
Matthew Claxson who acted for the family said,
How can Moore Barlow help?
If you have suffered a serious injury or have been bereaved as a result of a road crash then please contact our Serious Injury and Fatal Incident Team on 0800 157 7611 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.