Steven Snowden successful in High Court trial of lorry roll-over accident
Reserved Judgment has been handed down in the case of Edwards v Hargreaves Waste Services, a High Court trial in Newcastle concerning an HGV roll-over accident. Steven Snowden was instructed for the successful Second Defendant by DWF Newcastle. The Claimant was an experienced HGV driver whose articulated lorry rolled over on a sharp bend on a slip road off the Scotswood Bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead, causing him serious injuries. The lorry was carrying landfill waste. The Claimant had initially pursued the waste company which had loaded the trailer, but then released them and pursued his employer, alleging negligence in failing to warn and train him sufficiently as to the risks of roll-over and in the speed at which it could occur with the load he was towing. The Second Defendant’s case was that the Claimant was properly trained and that it would not have been practicable to have calculated the roll-over speed for every combination of lorry, loading, speed, bend radius and camber which he might encounter as a driver. Huge amounts of expert engineering evidence were gathered as to the loading, height centre of gravity, speed, bend and camber. There expert reconstruction of the lorry’s path and braking from tachograph and masternaut data. The Court heard argument as to the nature and extent of the employer’s duty of care in the circumstances. The Deputy High Court Judge gave judgment for the Second Defendant, finding that its induction and training were not out of line with industry practice, that responsibility for speed rested with the driver and that his negligence was the sole or overwhelming cause of the accident. The Judge went on to say that even had he found breach of duty, he would not have found causation to have been established and in the further alternative that there would have been 50% contributory negligence. Please click on the judgment below.
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