This child claimant had been on a day out in Felixstowe, Suffolk, with her mother and friends. They had been doing some shopping along Felixstowe’s busy Hamilton Road. That road had quite recently been converted from a traditional road and footpath layout to a modern ‘Shared Space’. Such spaces have no separate road and footpaths but instead have a consistent surface throughout which is to be used by both pedestrians and vehicles in a more fluid manner. These shared spaces are supposed to be designed in such a way so as to encourage drivers to drive more slowly and with extra caution.
Unfortunately, that does not always prove to be the case. Not only do some drivers fail to drive with extra care to account for the presence of pedestrians throughout but some pedestrians also become confused by the absence of any clear road.
In this case, the Claimant was crossing over to the shops on the other side of the street with her mother. She was slightly behind her mother when a car quite suddenly hit her, knocking her to the ground and then running her over.
The driver and his insurer initially denied any wrongdoing. They alleged that the child had ran out, that the driver had no time to respond and that the child had only been knocked down, NOT run over.
Unfortunately, the police had not taken any witness statements at the scene despite the large number of witnesses to the accident. The only available CCTV footage had been recorded from some distance away but it appeared to show the driver not applying his brakes at any time until after the collision. The driver also changed his version of events after that footage was obtained from the police.
More significantly, the medical expert evidence that we obtained confirmed that the serious injuries sustained by the child could not have been suffered without her having been run over by the vehicle. We maintained that, if the driver had been driving with due care and as slowly as he alleged, the child would not have been run over and injured. Even if the child had ran out (which was not accepted), someone driving at 5mph and with due care and attention would have been able to brake quickly enough to prevent the child from being run over.
Using all of the evidence that we had procured in this case, we were able to get the insurer to finally agree to compensate the Claimant for all of her injuries and suffering but the insurer fought us at every stage – it still took nearly 3 years for the claim to be settled but we were glad to be able to help the child and her family through what was a very difficult and stressful time.
Thankfully, the child went on to make an excellent recovery from her physical injuries and, thanks to the close love and support of her family, she also recovered well from the psychological trauma of the accident.