the personal injury and clinical negligence blog

A collaboration between Rebmark Legal Solutions and 1 Chancery Lane


Don’t you love it when a judge mulls over two competing accident reconstruction reports, selects what he thinks is most probable, and then finds as a fact that that is how the accident happened….grrrrr.  Welcome to the fantasy land of the balance of probabilities.


A welcome return to reality was made in Lambert v Clayton which unhelpfully is tucked away in that much unread series the Road Traffic Reports. [2010] RTR 3.  The parties had accepted the judge’s findings of fact for the purposes of the appeal. But in a powerful obiter dictum, Lady Justice Smith made it clear that, in general, precise findings of fact may be wholly unwarranted, particularly where there is a range of speeds, stopping distances and reaction times.  On one version of the reconstruction, the speeding motorcyclist was there to be seen, on another he was not.  It was not for the judge to decide which one was correct “if there are inherent uncertainties about the facts…This may well mean that the party who bears the burden of proof is in difficulties….”.


This case is a game-changer, both for claimants and defendants.



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