Road rage: car runs over foot.
Two drivers trying to pass through a narrow gap between parked cars got into an argument. One driver got out, went up to the other driver and threatened her through her open window. In the course of the shouting and threatening the Claimant leant through the Defendant’s open window, the Defendant became frightened and reversed, and in the process she drove over the Claimant’s foot. The Claimant sued the driver for compensation for her foot injuries.
The Defendant driver admitted that she was negligent in driving over the Claimant’s foot, but argued that the Claimant had contributed to her own injuries by not taking proper care for her own safety ie: by walking up to her car and by picking a fight and leaning through her window and scaring her. The Court was asked to consider the degree of that contributory negligence. That involved a 2 step process:
- Did the Claimant fail to exercise care for her own safety? and if so
- To what extent/degree did the Claimant’s behaviour depart from what a reasonable person would have done?
The Court was unimpressed with the Claimant’s behaviour. The Court then compared the negligence of the driver to the negligence the Claimant and found that by her picking a fight, shouting, threatening and leaning through the window that she had “enlivened the risk” and thereby was more to blame than the driver. The Court assessed the contribution at 1/3 against the driver, and 2/3 against the Claimant.
Bekdache v Chen  NSWDC 830 (18 December 2020)