Court: Mother Loses Case After Fatal Collision

February 5, 2018

A mother whose son died in a road traffic collision in 2013 has lost a court case which she filed on behalf of her son’s two young dependents seeking damages for bereavement.

Sandra Matthews-Wilson, the mother of the late Haile Matthews, filed the case alleging that “there must have been some degree of negligence on the part” of the Defendant Lesley Anne Cox, however the Court ruled that “no case was made out that showed the Defendant’s driving in the early morning hours of 18th January 2013 fell below the standard of a reasonable driver.”

The Court’s ruling said, “The Plaintiff is the mother of the late Haile Matthews who died in a road traffic accident which occurred at 12.45 a.m. on Friday, 18th January 2013. Mr. Matthews was riding his Black Honda motorcycle on Montpelier Road, Devonshire. He was travelling south.

The ruling said the defendant was driving a Suzuki motor car with a passenger in it, and was heading north.

“Montpelier Road is 6.6 meters wide and the lanes are separated by a yellow centre line,” the ruling said. “The fatal collision occurred approximately 30 metres past No. 3 Montpelier Road, opposite the Arboretum. The accident occurred in the northbound lane of Montpelier Road.

Video of police statement following the collision in 2013:

The document notes the Plaintiff brought the action on behalf of the two young dependents of Mr. Matthews, and “issued a Specially Endorsed Writ of Summons on the 21st October 2015 alleging that the accident was caused by the negligence of the Defendant.”

“In the course of the trial, counsel for the Plaintiff accepted that the accident occurred in the northbound lane but maintained that at the time of the accident the Defendant’s motor vehicle was straddling the centre yellow line travelling at a speed of approximately 50 kph.

The ruling noted, “As regards the evidence of Mrs. Matthews-Wilson, this traumatic event is still troubling for
her and her family and in her evidence she expressed her distress and anger about it.”

“The claim was made under the Fatal Injuries [Actions for Damages] Act 1949 seeking General Damages, Special Damages and Damages for Bereavement. The Defendant in her Defence and Counterclaim denied any negligence and defended the action on the basis that it was caused wholly and solely by the negligence of Mr. Matthews.

“The Plaintiff’s claim fails as no case was made out that showed the Defendant’s driving in the early morning hours of 18th January 2013 fell below the standard of a reasonable driver. On the contrary, the evidence points to the deceased being wholly responsible for the accident in 14 that he was driving his motor cycle at a high speed with somewhere between two and a half to three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.”

The full judgement follows below [PDF here]:

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