Accident on Black Ice not Caused by Negligent Driving
(Smith v Fordyce)  EWCA Civ 320
A car driven by the defendant skidded on black ice, and struck a wall. Unfortunately, his passenger suffered a severe brain injury.
The trial judge found as a matter of fact that the defendant Mr Fordyce had not been driving at an excessive speed and the presence of the patch of ice could not reasonably have been foreseen..
The Court of Appeal upheld the judge's finding that the accident had occurred without any negligence on the part of the driver.
Lord Justice Toulson observed:
"To say that a careful driver may be capable of driving on a dangerous road surface without an accident is one thing. To say that a person who suffers an accident because of the dangerous conditions of the road was therefore axiomatically careless is another." It does not follow as a matter of logic or human experience. If there is invisible ice on a pavement, the fact that only one pedestrian among a number had the misfortune to slip on it would not mean that the pedestrian who slipped was therefore to blame," Lord Justice Toulson.
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