Every driver needs to be able to stop quickly to avoid a collision if the car in front stops suddenly. As Snedden Hall & Gallop’s Managing Director, Richard Faulks, explains, this was confirmed in a recent decision by the ACT Supreme Court case, Howard-Hill v James.

Contributory negligence

The Court considered whether a driver, injured when another vehicle struck her from behind, was negligent. In this case, the injured driver had braked heavily to avoid hitting two galahs on the road. If the Court had found that she’d contributed to her injuries, it would have impacted her potential compensation claim.
Justice Mossop, in the Supreme Court, found that there was no contributory negligence. He ruled that each driver has to allow sufficient distance to avoid a collision. And this includes allowing for the possibility that a vehicle in front might suddenly come to a halt.
The outcome of this case is that, where a collision occurs after the front car stops suddenly to avoid a hazard on the road, in the normal course, the driver of the front car will not be found to have been contributory negligent.

Significance of this case

This case will assist those injured drivers who have to brake suddenly because of obstructions on the road or a sudden build-up of traffic. It also shows that drivers must exercise caution and allow a reasonable distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front.

How can Snedden Hall & Gallop help you?

The experienced Personal Injury team at Snedden Hall & Gallop can advise you if you have been in a car accident. Please contact us today for assistance on 02 6285 8000 or by email.