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Can I claim after a near miss?

I had a near miss last weekend which I can’t stop thinking about. A car pulled across my path from a junction and the driver didn’t even seem to realise what they had done.

I managed to brake hard enough to avoid hitting the car, but I nearly lost control as I was braking. What would have happened if I had come off and been injured and if they drove off without stopping?

Helen, Liverpool



The answer depends on whether you could trace the driver.

If they were traced, for example due to a witness account or a helmet cam or CCTV then you would be able to bring a claim for compensation against the driver’s insurance company.

If the car wasn’t traceable you would have been able to seek compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which compensates the victims of untraced drivers.

People think that there needs to be contact between two vehicles in order for liability to be established, but the reality is that it just needs to be any negligent driving causing an accident.

Once negligence is established then the lack of contact doesn’t matter and once someone has caused a hazard through negligence, then the court will give you some leeway in how you responded.

This is called “the agony of the moment” and as long as your actions were broadly reasonable then you won’t be held responsible even if in hindsight there was something better you could have done, such as swerving instead of braking.



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