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What if he made me crash?

I had a near miss on the weekend which I can’t stop thinking about. A van driver 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 van, but I very nearly lost control as I was braking. What would have happened if I had come off and caused myself damage while they drove off without a care in the world?

George Brandish, Rochdale



The answer depends on whether efforts to trace the van driver were successful.

If they were, because a witness caught the number plate, you had a helmet cam, or the van had an identifiable company name, then you would be able to bring a claim for compensation against the van driver’s insurance company in the usual way.

If the van wasn’t traceable you would have been able to seek compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which compensates the victims of untraced and uninsured 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 resulting in an accident.

Once that bar has been cleared then the lack of contact doesn’t matter and once someone has caused a hazard through negligence, then the court will give you a lot of leeway in how you respond.

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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