I was the passenger in a car being driven by my husband. He skidded on black ice and crashed into a wall. He was not driving quickly at the time, but in the crash I injured my neck and afterwards developed Fibromyalgia. I know it sounds odd, but can I make a claim against my husband? If I can, will I win my case?
Curious as it sounds, people are bringing claims against spouses, relatives and best friends all the time in personal injury litigation. That is because the driver will be insured and in practice, therefore, your claim will be against an Insurance Company and there is no reason why you should not bring it.
This brings us to the much more difficult second question. Will you win? I am really very doubtful about that. In a recent case in front of the Court of Appeal, the Claimant argued that because neither the Police Officer who attended the scene nor other motorists had any difficulty, therefore the conclusion should be that the Defendant driver must have failed to exercise proper care. The Court of Appeal politely disagreed. The driver had skidded because of the presence of black ice which had been invisible to him. This was an unusual and hidden hazard and just because others negotiated it without incident, does not mean that it was therefore the driver’s fault that he did skid. The Court made an analogy to a pedestrian on a pavement. The fact that only one pedestrian among a number had the misfortune to slip did not mean that the pedestrian who slipped was therefore to blame. In this case, as in so many others, the Court’s sympathies lie with those having to negotiate the difficulties posed by English weather conditions. The icy conditions were not visible nor reasonably foreseeable and therefore the Claimant lost. It is quite likely that your case will go the same way, but all of these cases are very fact- sensitive and it is certainly worth looking into it further with a Solicitor.
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