Hamburger van involved in accident even though it was stationary

A hamburger van was involved in a fatal accident even though it was parked in a layby at the side of the road.

That was the decision of the High Court in an unusual case involving the owner of the van and a motorcyclist.

The accident happened when the owner walked into the path of the motorcycle while displaying a sign for his business. He was killed instantly and the motorcyclist was badly injured.

The van owner had no public liability insurance but his partner had a motor insurance policy with his company, on which the van owner was a named driver.

The motorcyclist wanted to claim compensation against that insurance policy but the insurers denied liability because the van was in a layby and not moving at the time of the accident.

The court had to determine whether the accident arose out of "the use of a vehicle on a road" for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The court found in favour of the motorcyclist.

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It held that the accident arose out of the use of the van as a hamburger van. The van was parked in a layby at the side of the road to sell hamburgers. The owner met with the accident having set up a sign precisely to further that activity. He was on his way back to the van.

Temporally, geographically and qualitatively, the accident was closely linked to using the van on the road as a hamburger van. The motorcyclist was therefore entitled to pursue his compensation claim.


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