If someone trips and falls on an electric car charging cable strewn across the sidewalk, who is responsible?
Many EV owners without off-street parking devise their own ingenious methods of running a charging cable from their homes to the side of the road, sometimes with non-slip mats over the cord and even cases of people running a cable from an overhead window on their terraced property to a sidewalk tree. and lower torso.
However, these tactics not only increase the risk of others tampering with the freight of their vehicles, but also create a potential hazard for pedestrians who might trip and fall on strings across the sidewalk.
What does LGA say…
Although there are obvious risks, the LGA has previously told us that there is no ‘legislation they are aware of’ that would make reckless placement of a charging cable illegal.
When we looked at the legal ramifications of running charging strands on a crosswalk in 2020, an LGA spokesperson told This is Money that if someone injured themselves tripping over a charging cable across a sidewalk, the owner would likely be liable — although it’s a personal claim. An injury attorney and an auto insurance company say this may not be the case.
The cable should only be placed over the crosswalk while the vehicle is being charged and should always be removed when not in use.
Although it is suggested for those who live in particularly busy streets to use the raised plastic cable protector, which is usually used in construction sites.
A visor up to three meters in length is about £20.
LGA adds that drivers should consult their local authority’s website when considering the best way to charge their electric vehicle.
The councils recommend that charging cables be across the crosswalk only when the vehicle is plugged in. Many recommend ‘cable protectors’ (shown in this photo), which are commonly used on construction sites and cost around £20
A personal injury lawyer’s point of view…
This is Money spoke to Katherine Hart, partner at personal injury law experts Lime Solicitors, to better understand what the process will be like for an individual who sustains an injury after tripping over a charging lead across a crosswalk.
“Your accident likely occurred on a public highway, so you can’t claim that the careless person was the occupant of that highway,” she explained.
“You will need to say that the common law negligent owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that the injury could reasonably have been expected and that you had sustained the injury.”
This makes the claim scenario the same as if the individual needed to prove that they were in fact dropped by the EV owner, with the claim then made against their insurance company.
Will this insurance apply in this type of case? What you need to prove is that the injury arose from using the insured vehicle on the road,” says Katherine.
If the court accepts that the vehicle shipping uses it, the insurance companies will have to cover it.
However, she cautioned: “Believers are not usually so quick to accept responsibility if they think they can avoid it. I think they will fight it.”
“The problem with suing a car owner is that if they’re not covered by insurance, they probably don’t deserve to be sued.”
What auto insurance companies think…
With personal injury attorneys firmly putting the ball rolling on these cases in insurance company court, This is Money spoke to one of the major electric vehicle insurers, LV General Insurance, to get their point of view.
Incredibly, electric vehicle policies now have customers cover trips or fall on their charging cables.
Recently, the law was changed as a result of a court ruling in which the “use” of the vehicle was limited.
Charging an EV is considered to be “using” or using the vehicle, just as if you were using a car if you were refueling it with petrol, even if you weren’t actually driving it.
But what if someone else tripped on the charging cord?
‘If someone trips or falls over a charging cable and our customer is found legally liable or negligent, our policy would cover that under ‘liability to other people,’ a LV spokesperson told us.
With those kind of claims, our client would have to be found negligent in a court of law and there would be other things to consider as well, like maybe pedestrians weren’t paying attention to where they were going because, for example, they were looking at their phones — it could potentially be There is an element of common neglect on their part.
While that may be the case, LV says it hasn’t received any cases of this kind… yet.
She also added that the injury would have to be “very severe to initiate a claim,” and tripping on the pavement might not necessarily be life threatening or alter the injury in most cases.
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