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Mind that child

Two days ago the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in O'Connor v. Stuttard [2011] EWCA Civ 829.  A group of young children was playing in a quiet street in Oldham, which was in essence a short cul de sac.  D drove into the street, which he knew well, at about 10 mph in a low gear, saw the children on the right hand side of the road and so moved "abnormally close" to the nearside kerb.  As he did so, C, a 9 year old, ran across the road in front of him, chasing a football, reached the nearside pavement and continued to play with the ball there.  In doing so, he moved back to the very edge of the kerb.  D, thinking C would remain on the pavement, continued driving very close to the kerb  Unfortunately C's foot either protruded over the edge or was just in the road just as D passed.  D's car struck it, causing quite serious injury.  The Court of Appeal held him negligent.  In effect he was "driving through a playground"  So "the duty upon him was accordingly high," said Dame Janet Smith.  C's movement was "wholly unpredictable."  Then, memorably, " Balls can be difficult to control and children can do silly things."  [Says Ed Milliband?] D should have ensured C was aware of his presence and "was keeping still before he proceeded," even if that meant stopping his car.  "This may sound exacting but...it is not an unreasonable burden to place on a motorist who is driving very close to a young child."  It looks as if child-victim cases are going to be even harder to defend. 


Comments (1) -

  • jason @ personal injury lawyer

    7/27/2011 10:50:37 PM |

    Sorry, but with kids about, you can't trust them to do anything, especially the norm! In effect, that road was a playground!

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