Settlement of more than £1.1 million for driver of car involved in fatal collision with skip lorry


We settled a claim for over £1.1 million, plus legal costs, for our client who suffered catastrophic spinal injuries in a road traffic accident in July 2008.

Our client was driving six of his colleagues home from work, along the A141 Isle of Ely Way in Cambridgeshire. On a long, straight stretch of road he noticed a lorry coming towards him in the opposite direction. The lorry passed over the centre of the road onto the wrong carriageway. Our client flashed his headlights to alert the lorry driver who then moved back into his correct lane and flashed back.

As the vehicles entered opposite ends of a bridge over a local fen, our client again noticed the lorry move into his lane. Our client swerved to his right to try to avoid a crash, but the lorry then moved back into its correct lane and collided with our client’s vehicle.

Three of the passengers in his car were killed, one being ejected with such force that his body was discovered only later, over the side of the road in the drain beneath. Our client suffered catastrophic spinal injuries that have essentially rendered him tetraplegic for life and with significant ongoing needs to cope with day-to-day life.

There were witnesses to the accident travelling in both directions but their accounts were highly contradictory. The police investigated the accident and established that the lorry had been speeding on its approach, for which the driver was prosecuted, but there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges for the accident.

The defendant lorry driver and his employer claimed that our client had veered onto the wrong side of the road and that the lorry driver had been trying to swerve out of our client’s path when the collision happened. However, after lengthy investigations, including obtaining expert accident reconstruction evidence, we were able to conclude from physical evidence at the scene that the lorry driver’s account of events could not be correct. In contrast, our client’s account was supported.

The evidence was disputed by the defendants, who denied liability throughout, but who ultimately settled the claim for over £1.1 million.

Claims for other injured passengers and the estates of those tragically killed are ongoing.


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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP