A WOMAN badly injured in an Edinburgh car accident that claimed the life of her partner has won a £3.3 million payout after she maintained the crash was caused by him driving at excessive speed.
Christina Vibert, 31, suffered a cardiac arrest in the collision on a roundabout in Wester Hailes but she was resuscitated and suffered complex facial fractures as well as a brain injury.
Her partner, mechanic Ross Graham, 22, was killed when the car he was driving was trapped beneath the trailer of an HGV lorry when he ploughed into it at a roundabout.
She sought compensation from Zenith Insurance, which insured Mr Graham’s Honda CRX, in a action at the Court of Session.
The insurer has now agreed to pay the mother-of-two £3.3 million to settle the case.
Miss Vibert was wearing a seatbelt as a front seat passenger in the vehicle when the accident happened in January 2013.
Zenith Insurance claimed that another driver had been racing Mr Graham at the time of the collision and said he should have to pay part of the compensation.
However, following a court hearing, a judge has found that the crash was entirely the fault of Mr Graham, who was said to have smoked cannabis before driving.
In a written ruling, Lady Clark said: “Even if the third party was careless in his driving, and I make no such finding, I am unable to identify anything in relation to his driving which caused or materially contributed to the collision.
“In my opinion the cause of the accident is entirely due to the excessive speed of the deceased and his failure to drive the car in such a way as to enable him to stop at the roundabout as he plainly should have done.
“There is no evidence in this case from which I could infer, that the deceased was in any way aware of, or influenced by the driving of the third party.
“I note the evidence that the deceased appeared to be driving at speed at an earlier stage of his journey, before any manoeuvre by the third party.
“In my opinion, even if the deceased was aware of the driving and acceleration manoeuvre of the third party, none of that should have distracted a driver exercising reasonable care and cause to drive with excessive speed towards a roundabout which was obvious.
“In the evidence there is no explanation which I accept on the balance of probabilities as to why the deceased drove in the way in which he did.
“But one possible explanation is the admitted fact he had consumed cannabis albeit this was not explored in any detail in the evidence. For these reasons, the defenders’ case against the third party must fail.”
The couple were driving to Ikea to buy furniture for their one-month-old baby when the tragedy happened at a roundabout in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, on January 6, 2013.
Witnesses told the hearing Mr Graham had driven at up to 60mph on the B701 Wester Hailes road – which has a 40mph limit – and failed to give way at the roundabout.
Following the crash mum-of-two Miss Vibert underwent lengthy surgery before being transferred to a specialist hospital for rehabilitation which continued into 2014.
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 had originally sought £5 million in damages.