McCreery v Letson and others (2015)

Royal Liff Hospital DundeeThe accident took place on 21st October 2011 in daylight hours opposite the junction to Liff Hospital in Dundee.

The pursuer, Veronica McCreery, was struck by a van driven by the defender, Terrance Letson, as she stepped out from behind a bus to cross the road. 

It was held by the court the Pursuer should be awarded damages but with a 50% reduction to reflect contributory negligence. 

Veronica alighted from a bus which was stopped in a lay-by on the opposite side of the road to the entrance to Liff Hospital, Dundee. The lay-by was a designated bus-stop. She walked behind the bus and then started to cross the road. Veronica had no memory of the incident because of the extent of her injury. However, the bus was fitted with four video cameras.

The speed limit on the section of road is 60mph but goods vehicles not exceeding 7.5 tonnes are subject to a 50mph speed restriction. There is a sign warning of disabled persons crossing the road.

The van driver was travelling at 42mph when he saw the bus. His speed was well within the speed limit. When he saw the bus pulling away from the bus stop, he said he “probably covered his brake” and took his foot off the accelerator. When he first saw Veronica, he was doing 30-35 mph.

The Judge found that the driver’s speed on approach was too fast a speed given the potential hazards. An appropriate speed would have been 20-29mph. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGN. He should have appreciated the risk of someone “however foolishly“ walking out from behind a bus.. He failed to appreciate the risk and accordingly was not keeping a look-out.

Veronica did not step directly out into the path of the van nor did the van driver plough into a pedestrian who had been in his sight for long enough to have avoided her. 
The case fell between those two extremes. It was concluded, if Veronica had waited until the van had passed, she would not have been run down. Further, if the van driver had reduced his speed due to the potential hazards present he would have not hit the pursuer. 

It was held both parties in this case were equally to blame for the accident and liability was split 50/50.

A comparison was made to the case of Jackson v Murray

To view the full decision, go here.


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