17th Jun 2024

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James Hawkins (instructed by GEORGE IDE LLP) for the claimant Yordanov

Katherine Deal KC (instructed by WEIGHTMANS LLP) for the defendant Zad Dallbogg Life and Health AD.


ANNABEL DARLOW KC:

This is the hearing of preliminary issues arising from a road traffic accident which occurred on 31 July 2019.

Two separate claims have arisen from the accident. The first claim is brought by Miroslav Yordanov and the second by Vladimir Atanasov. Following a case management conference on 25 April 2023 in respect of both claims, it was ordered that the following should be tried as preliminary issues:

(i) Liability in both claims.

(ii) Choice of law in the Yordanov claim.

(iii) Contribution between defendants in the Yordanov claim.

(iv) Atanasov’s contribution to his own injuries, if any.

The evidence and consequent factual findings pertaining to the resolution of the preliminary issues in both claims substantially overlap. For this reason, a single judgment will be given in respect of both claims, although each remains separate. For convenience, the first set of proceedings will be referred to in this judgment as the ‘Yordanov claim’ and the second as the ‘Atanasov claim.’

The trial of a further issue, namely Mr Yordanov’s contributory negligence to his own injuries, was also ordered. This had been raised in pleadings on behalf of the Fifth Defendant in the Yordanov proceedings, namely Zad Dallbogg Life and Health AD (‘Dallbogg’), albeit it was not relied upon by any other Defendant. However, shortly before the commencement of the trial, the Fifth Defendant conceded that the claim of contributory negligence as against Mr Yordanov was no longer pursued and so will not be considered further by the court.

The accident

At about 8.43 p.m. on Wednesday 31 July 2019, a fatal road traffic accident occurred on the B2198 Bracklesham Lane in Sussex, which involved four vehicles and seven people.

The B2198 Bracklesham Lane, Bracklesham, near Chichester is a single carriageway road with one lane in each direction. At the vicinity of the accident, the road, whose width varies between approximately six to seven metres, is subject to a 40 mph speed limit. The opposing lanes are divided by hazard warning lines and the road travels through semi-rural countryside lined with properties to the east and west of the road.

Two of the vehicles involved in the accident, a Volkswagen Eos (‘the VW’), driven by Alyosha Angelov and an Alfa Romeo (‘the Alfa’), driven by Vladimir Atanasov, were travelling southbound on Bracklesham Lane. The driver of the VW attempted to overtake the driver of the Alfa. At the time he did so, a third vehicle, a Nissan Qashqai (‘the Nissan’), was travelling northbound on the same road. There is a slight bend in the section of the road which lay between the two southbound and one northbound vehicle as they began to approach each other. As the driver of the VW, having completed the overtaking manoeuvre, tried to steer the VW back into the southbound lane, contact occurred between the offside of the VW and the front offside of the Nissan. Contact also probably occurred between the nearside of the VW and the offside of the Alfa at around the same time.

Both the VW and the Alfa then lost control and left the road and each travelled onto the eastern grass verge. The VW collided with a telegraph pole, causing the pole to break away from its base, then struck a low embankment, rolled over and came to rest on its side in the southbound lane of Bracklesham Lane. The Alfa collided with a parked and unoccupied Audi A3 vehicle in a nearby driveway with sufficient velocity that both vehicles became airborne. Both vehicles then came to rest in the garden of an adjacent residence. Mr Angelov tragically died shortly after the collision as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. Mr Vasilev, Mr Yordanov and Mr Atanasov all sustained serious injuries.

At the time of the collision, it was daylight, close to dusk and the weather was fine and dry. The road was in good condition.

The Alfa Romeo GT registration EB1736BB was driven by Mr Vladimir Atanasov, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle. Mr Atanasov was the owner of the vehicle, which was registered in Bulgaria and had a manual left-hand drive. He was not wearing a seatbelt. The vehicle was insured by Dallbogg who are registered in Bulgaria.

The Volkswagen Eos TDI Cabriolet CF06 AVC was driven by Mr Alyosha Angelov. The vehicle was owned by Valentin Vasilev who had purchased the vehicle in the United Kingdom in 2018 and was its registered keeper. The vehicle was insured by Aviva Insurance Limited (‘Aviva’) who are registered in England.

The front seat passenger of the VW was Miroslav Yordanov, who was wearing a seatbelt. The rear seat passengers were Valentin Vasilev and his partner, Zafirka Kovacheva. Neither were wearing seatbelts.

The Nissan Qashqai was driven by Mrs Glenda Luff and her husband, Mr John Luff, was the front seat passenger.

Continue reading this Judgment here.


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