Car Crash Britain

I was watching Car Crash Britain on ITV and it was very interesting to see the large number and different types of road traffic accidents close up! I have been assisting people injured in such accidents for over 25 years and in particular those seriously injured who may have lost their ability to work, needed substantial care or adapted accommodation.


The programme illustrated the most common causes of road traffic accidents. In my experience failing to see other road users either at all or in sufficient time is a major cause. In particular pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. It was noteworthy that a large number of the accidents in the programme involved these road users. It is a common accident for a person turning right from a major road into a minor road not to see a motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction. I have seen cases where people were unsure as to whether they were turning into the correct road or were running late, and as a result of losing concentration failed to see a motorcyclist travelling in the opposite direction.


Speed is another common cause of accidents and this was again well illustrated by the programme. By driving too fast for the road conditions it will not allow drivers sufficient time to manoeuvre their vehicle safely or to stop in time when confronted with a hazard or stationary traffic. However, it is actually stop rather than speed which is the cause of serious injuries and fatalities in many road accidents. If the vehicle is travelling at 60mph and it suddenly comes to a halt from striking another object such as a car, tree or a crash barrier, the passengers and driver in the car continue to travel at almost 60mph.

Importance of Seatbelts

This is why the wearing of a seatbelt is so important. I have come across many clients who were very seriously injured when not wearing a seatbelt, particularly rear seat passengers.

There are legal consequences in a personal injury claim of not wearing a seatbelt. If the wearing of a seatbelt would have avoided the injury sustained by the injured party they are likely to have their compensation reduced by 25%. If the injured party still would have had the injuries, but they would have been less serious, then the normal reduction is 15%. If you are acting for a client who has a £6million claim for their injuries loss of earnings, care and accommodation etc they could lose up to £1.5million simply for not wearing a seatbelt.

Video Footage can be Essential

In order to succeed in a personal injury claim arising out of a road traffic accident it is necessary to either satisfy an insurer or a Court that the other party was negligent i.e careless. In a civil case the degree of proof required is on the balance of probabilities, in other words, more likely than not. Evidence is important and the programme demonstrated the usefulness of video footage, either from CCTV in towns and cities, or from cameras on the vehicles some of which are known as Dash-cams. If there is a dispute a Judge has to make a finding of fact as to what is more likely than not and such evidence can be invaluable. The programme demonstrated several accidents where without the video footage it would have made getting to the right result more difficult.