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He slammed on his brakes

I was hurt in an accident caused by a car driver in front of me suddenly slamming on his brakes as a traffic light went amber. I want to make a claim for injuries and my bike damage against his insurer as I am now out of hospital and it will be a couple of weeks until I able to work again. My partner thinks the accident was my fault because I went into the back of his car but I disagree because he did a dangerous manoeuvre. Should I claim or will I not get anywhere?

Sudhir, by e-mail


You should always leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front to allow you to safely stop should the unexpected happen. The vast majority of rear end collisions are the fault of the person behind. However, in certain circumstances the driver who suddenly stops can be held at least partly at fault.  For example, there have been cases involving people emergency braking due to a bird in their way where the courts have decided that the driver was negligent for reacting as they did just because of a bird and with disregard to the safety of other road users.

In your case the driver stopped for an amber light which is required unless doing so is likely to cause an accident. You could pursue your claim but you are likely to lose. If you succeed then you can expect to take a large amount of blame yourself.

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