I was injured in an accident which was caused by the driver in front of me suddenly slamming on her brakes when a traffic light turned to amber. I am now wanting to make a claim against her/her insurance as I am out of hospital and it will be a few weeks until I am back at work. My wife wishes me good luck but holds me to blame for running into the back of her but I am not so sure as I think she did a dangerous emergency stop. Am I wasting my time?
Chris Oliver, by e-mail
The standard rule of thumb is to leave a sufficient 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 partially to blame. For example, there have been two reported cases over the last 50 years involving a driver emergency braking due to pheasants in their path and in which the courts have held that the driver was negligent to have reacted in that way just because of a pheasant 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 should pursue your claim but do expect to take a significant amount of blame yourself.