Wright v Lodge & Shepherd [1993] 4 All ER 299

Liability – law of Tort – Negligence – Dangerous Driving - Contribution

Facts

Mr Wright was a driver injured by a collision that took place on a dual carriage motorway. The second defendant, Miss Shepherd, had been driving her Mini when it broke down and came to a halt on the near side lane of the motorway. She had then tried to restart her car. The defendant, Mr Lodge, had swerved over the central reservation after losing control of his lorry, which caused it to overturn on the opposite side of the carriageway. Mr Wright’s car was hit, as well as another person killed. In addition, the lorry hit Miss Shepherd from behind.

Issues

It was held that Mr Lodge was responsible for the injuries of the complainant. But, he appealed on the basis that Miss Shepherd should make a contribution to the injuries of Mr Wright and to the representative of the other person killed in the accident, due to her position on the motorway.

Held

The appeal was dismissed. The reckless and dangerous driving of Mr Lodge caused the accident to occur. He had been driving at 60mph in bad weather conditions and it was his sudden swerve and breaking that caused the lorry to lose control. Although Miss Shepherd had stopped in the eastbound lane, the responsibility for the accident lay with Mr Lodge and he was liable for the injuries of the complainant. Yet, the court found that Miss Shepherd should contribute 10 per cent to the compensation of her passenger for her negligence of leaving her car on the motorway.