Drivers jointly culpable for fatal crash

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TWO drivers were equally responsible for a crash that killed two people and left a 13-year-old girl fighting for her life, a court has ruled.

James McKinlay and Elizabeth Hall both died when their car was involved in a head-on collision near Cuaich, Dalwhinnie, Highlands, on the evening of 24 March, 2007.

The smash also left Mrs Hall’s niece, 13-year-old Kaya McInnes, from Edinburgh, fighting for life and, although she survived, she had to relearn how to walk.

It was agreed that Kaya should receive substantial compensation, but insurers of the two drivers alleged to be to blame – Richard McNicoll and Ronald McLean – contested who should pay up.

Now a senior judge, Lord Doherty, sitting at the Court of Session, has drawn a line under the case, ruling that McNicoll and McLean were equally at fault.

The decision means Norwich Union Insurance Ltd and AXA Insurance UK will each shoulder half of the burden of paying Kaya’s compensation.

Kaya was injured, and Mr McKinlay and Mrs Hall killed, when the Peugeot 306 they were travelling in collided head-on with Mr McNicoll’s camper van.

McNicoll, now in his 70s, was driving his camper van behind a line of other vehicles when he was overtaken by McLean’s van, near Cuaich. Vehicles in front braked as Mr McLean pulled back onto his side of the road and McNicoll clipped the back of another car and ended up in the middle of the road.

The retired panel beater’s camper van then collided with the oncoming Peugeot 306, causing devastating injuries for those inside.

The judge said Mr McNicoll and Mr McLean were “joint wrongdoers”. The level of Kaya’s compensation payout has not been disclosed.