You are here:

Auto Insurance Claims/Collision with Pedestrian



My question is regarding claims in the UK if you are able to advise on this.

Last night my mother was driving her car through a car park, doing at most 10mph as she was looking for a space to park in. On following the road round a group of parked cars she collided with a pedestrian who had been walking diagonally across the road. The pedestrian was so close to the bend in the road that my mother did not see her until seconds before the collision, at which point she braked however was too close to avoid the collision. There is a crossing in this car park however the pedestrian was not using it as she was crossing diagonally.
It was dark and my mother had the lights on her car so was visible. The pedestrian was not wearing anything reflective and did nothing to move out of the path of the car.

There was a small scratch on the bonnet of my mother's car and the pedestrian seemed in shock but not injured. A police car was parked nearby and the officer came to investigate when he noticed my mother stop her car. He offered to take the pedestrian to hospital but she declined. Details were taken by the police officer but nothing else has been done so far.

Where does my mother stand on liability if the pedestrian decides to pursue a personal injury claim? If they do so are we in a position to make a counter claim for the scratch to the car? Or would this be a case of split liability?


Hi Katie,

Since I do not reside in the UK, I cannot claim to be familiar with your civil legal system.  Having said that, let me attempt to point you in the right direction based on my knowledge of insurance here in the US.

As to liability, I cannot possibly answer that question without a great deal of additional information such as witness statements, a visit to the scene, or a further investigation of the lighting conditions.  Vehicle damages are less important in a pedestrian accident, but could be useful in a liability investigation.

Speaking very generally, I would point to the obvious:  dark, no reflective clothing,etc.   Were there obstructions blocking your mother's vies?  Did your mother have the opportunity to see the pedestrian before the last second?  Surely the pedestrian could see your mother's headlights.  Why did she not stop?  Was anyone on a cell phone?  Was your mother wearing glasses if she need them to see at night? Who had the last final chance to avoid the accident?  Those are just some of questions that need answering.

I am going to assume that a determination of liability is similar in the UK to what it is in the US.  Insurance companies make liability decisions everyday for the purposes of honoring or denying a claim.  Unless there are serious injuries, most liability decisions made by insurance companies are the final word.  But ultimately, in serious injury accidents, liability decisions are made by a judge or a jury.  If the pedestrian is going to retain an attorney and "go after" your mother, liability would be addressed during that process either by way of a settlement or by a court.

Assuming your mother has what we call Bodily Injury coverage - which would cover her for liability in an injury accident - her insurance company would defend her.  They could either accept liability and settle on her behalf or they could allow the case to go to trial.  In either event, if this occurs, work closely with the insurance company.  And, yes, your mother would be required to cooperate with HER carrier.  I would suggest that your mother not give statements to anyone outside of her own insurance company.  She is not required to cooperate with anyone aside from her own insurance company.

A counter claim for pedestrian damages?  You said it was a "scratch".  Probably a good idea not to pursue that at this point.  If your mother has Collision - damage to her vehicle regardless of fault - I would suggest she file that claim and let the insurance companies battle it out.  Although there is always the chance that the damage does not meet her deductible.

Good luck,

Auto Insurance Claims

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jane Pytel


I can answer questions related to auto accidents, auto damage, auto theft claims, or personal injury claims. I am specifically suited to answer questions concerning insurance investigations and the effects of those investigations such as claim delays, claim denials, examinations under oath, or the special investigations unit. I can answer most any question that relates to proper claims investigations, or claims handling procedures and processes. I have authored several ebooks which provide claim guidance for consumers. Those books are available on Amazon Kindle: Power To Profit - will provide you with the knowledge you need to overcome the patterned obstacles that insurance companies will use to delay, devalue, or deny your valid insurance claim. The No Nonsense Guide to Accident Settlement - Teaches you how to manage your claim, how to identify the precise tactics likely to be used against you, and how you must respond.


12 years of experience with 3 major insurance companies. I hold an all lines adjusters license in Florida. I am well versed in claims handling, claims investigations, and industry standards related to both. The bulk of my experience stems from my 10 years as a police officer / detective. Building on that investigative experience, I became an SIU (Special Investigations Unit) Investigator. Accordingly, my unique expertise lies in the investigation of claims. What is necessary and related, what is not necessary and related? What constitutes a fair claims investigation? What recourse is available for consumers who suspect they are experiencing unfair claims delays? During the course of my experience, I became a certified trainer, instructing adjusters and investigators proper techniques for claims investigation and claims handling.

B.A., Communications, University of Miami 350 credit hours of intense investigative training, Miami Dade Police 80 hours of investigative training, various Federal Agencies, Miami, Fl Intensive Accident Reconstruction and Pedestrian Injury Analysis, NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, Oklahoma City, OK 2 weeks Auto Damage Appraisal, Winston Salem, NC Legal Principles Claim Specialist, AEI

©2016 All rights reserved.