People frequently suffer injury principally as a result of their own carelessness. As a High Court case strikingly showed, however, that does not mean they cannot win compensation where the injury they suffered was partly because of the negligent action of someone else.
The case concerned a young man who was left paralysed from the chest down after his motorbike collided with a car that had turned across his path. He frankly admitted that he was travelling at a grossly excessive speed at the time. He had overtaken a bus at high velocity and eyewitnesses had commented on his appalling driving.
However, with the benefit of strong legal representation he succeeded in proving that the car's driver was one-third responsible for the accident. A judge found that the motorcyclist was 'there to be seen' and that the driver had been negligent in failing to take a final look up the road before commencing his turn.
The amount of the motorcyclist's damages award has yet to be assessed. However, given the extent of his pain and suffering, lost earnings and long-term care needs, it is likely to be a seven-figure sum, even after a two-thirds deduction.