A male who had his leg amputated after being hit by a fast-moving car whilst he was situated on a dark country road has launched a claim for substantial damages against Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
‘Somerset Live’ reported that they had seen a publicly available Writ issued at a Court in London stating that Neil Berry, 49, was apparently intoxicated after a night out with his friends and was talking to Police Officers as he stood in the middle of the busy A39 near Glastonbury in the early hours of 23rd April, 2016
According to Somerset Live, the writ states that Mr Berry was hit by a vehicle that was travelling at just under 60 MPH and that as a result, he suffered severe injuries including losing his right leg above the knee, a fractured left leg, a fractured spine and multiple facial injuries.
Now as a result of the incident, Mr Berry is suing the Avon & Somerset Constabulary for a considerable amount of compensation and is accusing the force of being ‘negligent’ in relation to how its officer dealt with Mr Berry immediately before the accident.
It is expected that his claim will be for over £200,000 but if he is successful then he could receive considerably more. It is not known as to whether or not Mr Berry has already received any compensation from the insurers of the vehicle that struck him
After being hit by the car, Berry was taken to Southmead Hospital via HEMs where his right leg was partially amputated.
The writ apparently states that Berry had been drinking with his work colleagues in Wells on April 22 and that he was drunk when he started to walk the four miles home along the unlit A39.
It goes on to give details of how Berry allegedly started to shout outside the home of a female in Polsham, telling the woman that he wanted the assistance of the police or ambulance service – it is not known as to why Mr Berry was making such a request for the emergency services.
At approximately 0130 hours, the female at the address, who it believed was not known to Berry, called two taxi companies on behalf of Berry but neither could/would attend the location. The female was worried about Berry and his demeanour stating that he seemed ‘distressed’.
According to the Writ, the female even considered driving Mr Berry home herself but decided against doing this because she did not know Berry and because he was drunk.
The lady then decided to call 999 and to request the assistance of the Police.
Mr Berry was subsequently arrested for being drunk and incapable. He was later de-arrested once the Police had moved Mr Berry to a location outside of the house.
It is alleged that the Officer dealing with Mr Berry instructed him to start walking home to Glastonbury but according to details in the writ, Mr Berry kept asking the Police to be arrested.
It is claimed that as he did this, one officer held out his hand and told Mr Berry to not come within an arms length of him.
As the Police Officer walked towards Mr Berry, it is claimed that Mr Berry had to walk backwards until he was standing in the middle of the A39.
The writ claims that as Berry was stood in the middle of the road, he was struck by the car
The writ claims that the Police were negligent saying that the Police Officers moved Mr Berry from the back door of the house (not known whose house) and onto the main road when it was unsafe to do so because he was drunk.
It also states that they told him to walk home, despite being drunk and that it was dangerous to do so and that they ‘failed to pay heed to the fact that he was drunk and incapable’.
The officers are accused of negligently failing to consider how dangerous it would be for Mr Berry to walk along the unlit A39 when he was intoxicated. It was dark, there were no pedestrian pavements on the road, and he was wearing dark clothing.
Mr Berry is claiming that the Police should have put him in the back of their police car until a police van arrived to help and he is also alleging that the officers who attended failed to follow police guidelines and policies whilst exposing Mr Berry to a ‘foreseeable risk of injury’.
In addition to claiming damages for negligence, Mr Berry is also seeking damages under the Human Rights Act 1998, saying police had a duty to protect his life as he had just been under arrest.
According to the write, Berry was a victim of their unlawful act and therefore he is seeking a declaration that police acted in a way which was incompatible with his rights under article 2 of the Human Rights Act.
He is apparently asking the court to allow him to bring the human rights aspect of his claim out of time, saying the Independent Police Complaints Commission (as it was called then) did not send its report until August 2017, and Avon and Somerset Constabulary did not disclose its report until November 2017. His claim for negligence is within the court’s time limits.
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