Resolving Evidential Contest in a Car Accident Claim*

It is the duty of the injured party in a car accident claim* case to prove on the balance of probabilities that the defendant driver was negligent and caused the accident.

It can be very important to visit the scene of the accident to get a full understanding of what arose. The driver of the car should be asked to describe with a drawing how the accident arose. The more work at the investigation stage is done before a case commences, the greater chance of success in a case, in our opinion.

One driver in a case may claim they were within their carriageway side of the road when the collision happened, when the other driver also says they were within their own carriageway side of the road when the collision occurred.

Which car crossed the white line on the crown of the road to determine liability will then have to be decided upon by the court.

If a Garda member attends the scene and gives evidence, photographs may be admitted and evidence given as to the circumstances found at the scene. It’s possible a Sketch Map was prepared also which could be of some help.

If an Engineer gives evidence in such a case, they will likely have taken photographs and measurements and prepared a report. A computerised assessment of the positions of the vehicles at the time of the impact, post impact, resting positions etc. can also be helpful. The engineers may be asked their opinions regarding where the collisions likely occurred.

Evidently the evidence of the drivers involved will be of paramount importance in circumstances where both accident narratives are unlikely to co-exist.

Apportionment of Liability Civil Liability Act 1961 Section 34.

If the injured person in such a case is found to have driven with want of care, they can evidently lose the case, but an alternative occurrence can arise whereby a court concludes that damages are reduced, if the injured party and the defendant are both partly to blame for the accident.

The task for the court in such a circumstance is to resolve the conflict of evidence between the drivers. If the court concludes the accident occurred on the defendants side of the road, the injured party may lose their case outright, with the court concluding sole responsibility for the accident rests with the injured party.

Disclaimer 

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

8(b) “In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement”.

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