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Responsibilities of accident witness
stamfordman
post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 12:09
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Is there any formal responsibility of someone who witnesses a road accident?

I was thinking about this this morning as I witnessed a van in front of me turning right across a motorcyclist, who went into the van's side. He didn't seem to be badly hurt and I helped him up.

I gave him my name and telephone number and told him to get checked out as he seemed to have a leg injury. The van driver (white van man type) couldn't get away as he was turning into a yard entrance (and gave me some abuse when I said it was his fault - he even took a pic of my car for some reason). I left the scene once they had their vehicles off the road and were exchanging details.

This post has been edited by stamfordman: Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 12:10
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post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 12:09
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The Rookie
post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 12:37
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The only responsibility is a moral one.

Its possible the motorcyclist will lose your details if his injuries are worse than you or he thought, you could report basic details to the Police so if he contacts them they have your details.

Also if the WVM starts to harass you in any way (unlikely) you aid your credibility, arguably taking your car's photo for no other reason was low level harassment in itself (no-one's going to take any action over it) but I'm sure he could argue it was just in case he needed to identify you as being a witness.


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stamfordman
post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 12:50
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I made sure my details were on his phone before I left. And yes my major concern was for his health - but it didn't seem that an ambulance was warranted. i did say I'd drive him to A&E.

I have been a court witness for a very serious accident about 20 years ago when a van hit a cyclist on an A road.
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southpaw82
post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 15:14
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None


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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dacouc
post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 16:19
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I witnesses a similar accident but with a cycle.

A couple of months later I received a letter from the Met's Traffic division with a statement to complete and return.

The statement is very long and in depth
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stamfordman
post Wed, 27 Sep 2017 - 18:39
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Well just seen another one as i was out picking someone up - a girl knocked off her cycle by a moped. This time I was a few cars back so not a primary witness and didn't see exactly what happened.

Round here (inner Islington/Hackney) the roads are now getting dangerous for cyclists in the evenings as it's getting darker and there are hundreds of cyclists on the streets.
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Neil B
post Thu, 28 Sep 2017 - 09:18
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I always worry that people won't bear witness if I ever need it.
We live in different times.

On the occasions I've stopped myself I give details to both parties.

a) It prevents arguments

b) If I hear from both insurance Cos then I hope it helps smooth the claim when I'm telling
one of them their driver was clearly at fault.


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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 11 May 2018 - 12:30) *
Neil is good at working backwards.

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oldstoat
post Thu, 28 Sep 2017 - 17:51
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Re original question. You have no legal responsibility. Well you used not to till someone was jailed for watching someone drown

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/man-j...s-after-9699635


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The Rookie
post Fri, 29 Sep 2017 - 10:24
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Erm, he was convicted of manslaughter, he did more than watch, they were 'mucking around' together when she fell in!


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oldstoat
post Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 08:14
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but he did not push her in the only thing he did was fail to assist


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nigelbb
post Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 09:26
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QUOTE (oldstoat @ Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 09:14) *
but he did not push her in the only thing he did was fail to assist

He SAID that he di.dn't push her in. I suspect the jury thought that he took a much more active role than merely failing to assist.


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Speedy2007
post Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 09:38
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A white van once reversed into me from a side road when I was stationery in a queue of cars waiting to overtake parked vehicles. He said it was my fault. I must have been driving really quickly as there was no one there when he looked. I replied that I couldn't have been going that fast else the Police car stopped behind me would have pulled me up. Brilliant double take from WVM. Incidentally, the presence of the Police made him change his mind but both officers denied seeing the accident that happened right in front of them.
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666
post Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 09:47
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QUOTE (nigelbb @ Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 10:26) *
QUOTE (oldstoat @ Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 09:14) *
but he did not push her in the only thing he did was fail to assist

He SAID that he di.dn't push her in. I suspect the jury thought that he took a much more active role than merely failing to assist.


We can't know what the jury thunk.

But if the report is correct then presumably the judge considered that in law the accused's inaction was capable of constituting manslaughter, and would have instructed the jury accordingly.
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oldstoat
post Tue, 3 Oct 2017 - 13:41
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QUOTE (666 @ Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 10:47) *
QUOTE (nigelbb @ Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 10:26) *
QUOTE (oldstoat @ Mon, 2 Oct 2017 - 09:14) *
but he did not push her in the only thing he did was fail to assist

He SAID that he di.dn't push her in. I suspect the jury thought that he took a much more active role than merely failing to assist.


We can't know what the jury thunk.

But if the report is correct then presumably the judge considered that in law the accused's inaction was capable of constituting manslaughter, and would have instructed the jury accordingly.


which reinforces my original point that inaction by someone COULD constitute an ability for someone to take action against a witness for failing to act

This post has been edited by oldstoat: Tue, 3 Oct 2017 - 13:42


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southpaw82
post Tue, 3 Oct 2017 - 15:58
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QUOTE (oldstoat @ Tue, 3 Oct 2017 - 14:41) *
which reinforces my original point that inaction by someone COULD constitute an ability for someone to take action against a witness for failing to act

Your reliance on that case is misconceived (R v Bowditch). There are several reasons for this:

1. He pleaded guilty to an offence of manslaughter after being charged with murder. Whether this was because his legal team felt he was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, guilty of both but could cut a deal, or some other reason we will never know. However, the merits of the legal point weren't tried.

2. The law remains that a bystander owes no duty of care to anyone else in difficulty - R v Evans.

3. A duty can arise if the bystander has contributed to the difficulty the victim finds themselves in - R v Evans again.

4. This may be the basis on which Mr Bowditch pleaded guilty. The facts of their behaviour (Bowditch and the victim, a 17 year old girl) remain unclear but he seems to have accepted that they contributed to her ending up in the water.

So, to place reliance on this case for the proposition that a witness could be proceeded against for failure to act is wrong. They'd have to be more than a witness, i.e. a participant.


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oldstoat
post Thu, 5 Oct 2017 - 15:50
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Tue, 3 Oct 2017 - 16:58) *
QUOTE (oldstoat @ Tue, 3 Oct 2017 - 14:41) *
which reinforces my original point that inaction by someone COULD constitute an ability for someone to take action against a witness for failing to act

Your reliance on that case is misconceived (R v Bowditch). There are several reasons for this:

1. He pleaded guilty to an offence of manslaughter after being charged with murder. Whether this was because his legal team felt he was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, guilty of both but could cut a deal, or some other reason we will never know. However, the merits of the legal point weren't tried.

2. The law remains that a bystander owes no duty of care to anyone else in difficulty - R v Evans.

3. A duty can arise if the bystander has contributed to the difficulty the victim finds themselves in - R v Evans again.

4. This may be the basis on which Mr Bowditch pleaded guilty. The facts of their behaviour (Bowditch and the victim, a 17 year old girl) remain unclear but he seems to have accepted that they contributed to her ending up in the water.

So, to place reliance on this case for the proposition that a witness could be proceeded against for failure to act is wrong. They'd have to be more than a witness, i.e. a participant.


para 35 seems to be the crux of the matter. it seems to me that the lad was badly advised especially in relation to para 12

This post has been edited by oldstoat: Thu, 5 Oct 2017 - 16:09


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oldstoat
post Wed, 18 Oct 2017 - 18:41
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another disconcerting case which appears to be trying to extend duty of care to more cases

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-41666295


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Fredd
post Wed, 18 Oct 2017 - 19:12
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QUOTE (oldstoat @ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 - 19:41) *
another disconcerting case which appears to be trying to extend duty of care to more cases

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-41666295

I'm impressed that you can have any idea about that whatsoever from the report you've linked to,


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