Crash victim sues dead partner’s insurer for £5m after blaming him for speeding

Christina Vibert, pictured with partner Ross Graham who died in the crash. Picture: Contributed
Christina Vibert, pictured with partner Ross Graham who died in the crash. Picture: Contributed

A WOMAN who was badly injured in a crash that claimed the life of her partner is suing his insurer for £5 million after maintaining he was driving at excessive speed.

Christina Vibert, 29, suffered a cardiac arrest but was resuscitated after the collision on the B701 dual carriageway which forms a junction with the Clovenstone roundabout.

Her partner, mechanic Ross Graham, suffered fatal injuries after the car he was driving was trapped beneath the trailer of an HGV lorry.

She is now seeking compensation from Zenith Insurance who insured the Honda CRX being driven by Mr Graham on January 6 in 2013 in a contested action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Ms Vibert was wearing a seatbelt as a front seat passenger in the Honda before the accident occurred in Edinburgh leaving her trapped in the vehicle.

READ MORE: Crash victim Christina Vibert awakes from coma

In the action it is said: “The vehicle was driven by her partner, the deceased. He was driving at excessive speed for the conditions and the road layout.

“The B701 was a dual carriageway on which there was a 40 mile per hour speed limit. The road formed a junction with the Clovenstone roundabout.”

“He failed to give way on approaching the give way junction of the roundabout. He proceeded through the junction and collided with a DAF XF heavy goods vehicle.”

Ms Vibert underwent lengthy surgery after the crash because of the extensive fractures to her face and was later transferred to a specialist hospital for rehabilitation which continued into 2014.

It is said that her present home in Edinburgh is unsuitable for her needs as it lacks space and is not wheelchair accessible.

She can move slowly over very short distances with the aid of a crutch or walking stick, but needs a wheelchair for longer distances. She has difficulties with communication and a left sided weakness and has memory and concentration problems.

“She required and for the remainder of her life will require assistance with the normal activities of daily living,” it is said.

Before the crash she gained a qualification in hairdressing with the intention of pursuing a career in hairdressing and beauty treatments.

The mother-of-two was said to have enjoyed “a warm and close relationship” with her children but has been unable to care for them since the accident. “She has lost the companionship and society of her children which greatly distresses her,” it is said.

Ms Vibert is seeking damages for a variety of matters, including her pain and suffering, care costs, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, additional accommodation and adaptation costs and loss or earnings, employability and pension benefits.

The insurer maintains the the amount sued for is excessive and that it is not liable. It also contends that if it is liable then another motorist, brought into the action as a third party, should bear a portion of the award.

It further maintains that if it is liable then any damages payable should be reduced as she had materially contributed to her loss and injury.

It contends that Mr Graham and the other driver had been racing each. It also alleges that Ms Vibert was or ought to have been aware that the deceased was under the influence of cannabis at the time of the accident.

“The pursuer (Ms Vibert) ought not to have allowed herself to be a passenger in the vehicle being driven by the deceased whilst he was under the influence of cannabis. Had she not allowed herself to be a passenger all her injuries would have been avoided,” it is said.

In the action Ms Vibert said she has no recall of the driving that day and no recollection of Mr Graham having used cannabis or telling her that he had.

The case called before Lord Turnbull for a procedural hearing involving senior counsel for the insurers and the third party on Wednesday.