There was no cycle lane. Suddenly, she was hit by the door opened by the driver of a car parked on the right roadside. As a result of an accident, the woman and the bike fell onto the left side of the right traffic lane. When she was lying on the road, her right foot and the bike was run over by the car following her. The injured woman filed a claim against both drivers, demanding compensation. The second driver who was following her, filed a motion to reject the Plaintiff’s claim and a motion for summary judgment. In his justification he pointed out that in light of this specific situation he did not breach duty of care. The First Instance Court rejected the Defendant’s motion, as a result he appealed.
The Appellate Court upheld the First Instance Court’s decision. In the justification the judges explained that “according to the law, when a person is facing special circumstances, like sudden and unexpected situation which has no connection with their actions, having little or no time for reacting, or in light of circumstances which cause anxiety which forces this person to take immediate action without considering alternative solutions, is not negligent if their actions are justified and rational in given circumstances”.
However, the Appellate Court pointed out that the presence of special circumstances does not exempt a person from responsibility for their actions. That is why, to decide whether the situation occurs in special circumstances a person needs to rationally assess the conditions.
The Appellate Court also explained that Defendant did not prove that he was innocent, as the evidence provided by them included the transcripts of the defendant and the victim’s testimonies. The Plaintiff testified that the defendant’s car run over her left foot and back wheel of her bike, two or three second after her fall. Contrary to that, the defendant testified that there was only a second between the Plaintiff’s crush with the door and the defendant’s hitting her. Due to these discrepancies, the Appellate Court held that the evidence was not sufficient to exclude all doubts whether the defendant was negligent.
Taking everything into account, the Appellate Court ruled that the First Instance Court was compliant with the law when giving the judgment in those circumstances. On the basis of this example, we can see that it was enough that the Plaintiff provided another version of an accident to create discrepancy. As a result, she saved her claim from being rejected. If she had supported the defendant’s testimony, the second driver could have been found not guilty. This case clearly proves how important it is to prepare a client for depositions, during which words which might seem insignificant might turn out to be the most important in the case.