While filtering past a line of stationary traffic, a car pulled out from my left and hit me, causing me to crash. I would have thought this was obviously his fault. But I was in the area to the right of the vehicles with a chevroned area with broken white lines to my right. The driver who hit me claims I was in the chevroned area but I definitely was not. Even if I was, does this make a difference or is it just a red herring?
James Davies, Abergavenny
Answered by Andrew Campbell, Solicitor and author of the MCN Law column.
The Highway Code states that areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road are there to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right. If the area is bordered by a broken white line you should not enter the area unless it is “necessary” and you can see that it is “safe to do so”. If the area is marked with chevrons and bordered by solid white lines you must not enter it except in an emergency.
As the driver is claiming you were in a chevroned area liability needs to be considered very carefully with attention paid to witness evidence and so on. If it is found by the court that you were in the chevroned area then contributory negligence will most likely apply.
However, I can foresee an interesting legal argument over the definition of “necessary” – necessary to make progress would be your argument although note the “necessary” and “safe” – your opponent is bound to argue it was not necessary and wasn’t safe. As far as I know the “necessary” element has never been tested in court and realistically this is likely to be a case of shared blame.
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