I was injured in an accident which was a car driver’s fault but instead of prosecuting him they let him off with a driving course. I’m currently making a claim but I wanted to know If I was to bring a civil prosecution against him, would this prejudice my claim against his insurers?
Alan Smith, By e-mail
The police often allow negligent drivers to take a driver improvement course instead of a formal prosecution, particularly where they haven’t committed a similar offence in the last 3 years.
Generally, bringing a private position wouldn’t prejudice the claim, though it would likely delay it substantially, as the civil courts generally want any criminal prosecution to be resolved before the civil side is addressed.
In this case however I don’t think you would be able to bring a private prosecution because it appears that the defendant has accepted a driving improvement course in lieu of a prosecution.
Notwithstanding any person’s general right to bring a private prosecution, there are a number of situations where you can be prevented from doing so. Of particular relevance to your case would be cases where the prosecuting authorities (including the police, the CPS or any other public prosecutor) have promised the defendant that he will not be prosecuted.
If the defendant did indeed accept driving awareness course as part of an agreement to avoid a formal prosecution, then it’s unlikely they would let you bring that prosecution privately in breach of that agreement.