Car A is tailgating Car B. Additionally Car A driver is operating a mobile phone while driving. Car B driver is driving carefully and well within the speed limit.

Suddenly a person C jumps from the sidewalk onto the streets without any indication of planning to do so before, forcing B to slam the breaks and narrowly avoiding hitting the person. Car A doesn't have a chance, and despite slamming his breaks crashes into Car B.

Now while I don't doubt that car A driver is responsible for damages done to B, he didn't maintain a safe distance between the cars and was likely distracted by the mobile phone. But my question is could Thompson v Spedding [1973] R.T.R. 312 apply here?

My reasoning is that the situation are similar, as both involve a third party that acted wrong (in this case a person jumping onto the road in front of a car, compared to a car taking a sharp turn in original case), the first car managing to avoid the incident and causing no fault of his own, and the last car in line not able to avoid the accident because of not maintaining safe distance.

Am I correct in applying this case to those facts, and saying that it's likely that person C and driver of car A share liability for damages to B and A cars?


1 Answer 1


It might be possible to argue that person C has some liability, but doubtful that such a claim would be pursued in practice. As a pedestrian the insurance company would have to sue them to recover costs, where as the other driver has clear, undisputed liability and insurance that will pay out.

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