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Jenny Jones

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee claim for accidents caused by road markings

The number of road traffic accidents caused by unclear road markings is said to be increasing.

Although Local Authorities have a wide range of obligations relating to signage, road markings and road condition, their liability regarding road accident claims for incidents caused by these factors is often disputed.

Seeking expert professional advice at an early can improve your chance of making a successful claim.

Unclear Road Markings

"Unclear road markings" will usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Markings that are worn or faded and therefore difficult for road users to see
  • New road markings that are visible, but painted in a way that is confusing to road users
  • Markings painted in error

Worn or faded road markings

Where a road marking is no longer visible, it may be difficult for a driver to know where to stop at a junction, or who has the right of way.

In some cases, this confusion may lead a driver, believing he has right of way, to proceed into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Broken white lines in the centre of the road are used to indicate hazards ahead; solid white lines (double and broken) must only be crossed if it is safe and necessary.

Where central white lines are not clearly visible, drivers may believe it safe to overtake other vehicles and meet oncoming traffic, or may collide with central traffic islands.

Case law regarding worn markings

Gorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (2002) considered whether a local council was negligent for having failed to repaint a "SLOW" road marking before a dip in the road that reduced visibility.

The Claimant crashed head-on into a bus on a dip in the road. It was argued that although an "uneven road" sign was visible, the faded SLOW markings had contributed to the accident and that the Council was negligent for having failed to repaint the marking.

It was held that the Council had breached their duty. However the Court of Appeal found in favour of the defendant, accepting the Council's argument that the markings in this case fell outside their duty of care.

The likelihood of a making a successful claim will likely depend on the facts of the individual case.

Confusing road markings

Road junctions where the main road continues at a sharp left or right turn at the point where a secondary  road meets it may cause confusion for drivers if the right of way or road direction is not clearly indicated.

For example, it may appear that the secondary road ahead is the main road's direction of travel (rather than the sharp left turn) and the driver may fail to give way to another vehicle travelling on the main road from the other direction - resulting in a side on collision as that vehicle turns the corner.

Unclear lane markings may also cause accidents where traffic is required to cross dual carriageways, turning left, right or proceeding forward from opposite directions.

Markings painted in error

Recent press has reported cases of new road markings painted in error, creating confusion for drivers.

Whilst incorrectly applied markings may be corrected within a fairly short timescale, accidents may still occur until the correction is made. Whether a claim can be made under such circumstances may depend on the circumstances.

Making a claim

Where an accident has occurred as a result of a lack of, or confusing, road markings, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible at the site of the collision or incident.

Photographs may be used as evidence to demonstrate that the lack of clarity of the road markings were a factor in the accident.

Maintenance of roads and markings is generally the responsibility of the local highway authority and it must implement a proper system of inspection and maintenance of the carriageway. If the carriageway is defective there should be sufficient signs or other items to warn road users of the hazard until it may be repaired.

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that the road must be reasonably safe for its users, therefore if a council or highway authority has failed in its duty to maintain road markings or warn users, the entity may be liable should an accident occur as a result of its negligence.

No Win, No Fee road markings accident compensation claims explained

No Win, No Fee compensation claims are started with an injured Claimant signing, with their lawyer, a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a "CFA",.

The agreement details the work provided by the lawyer as well as a "success fee" to be taken from the award if the injury lawyer wins your case.

There are no hidden costs working with a Quittance personal injury solicitor. You are able to prioritise your recovery, knowing that there is nothing whatsoever to pay up front.

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