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Ruling in contributory negligence case

Deemster Corlett has ruled a man who suffered brain damage in a car crash wouldn't have received lesser injuries if he has been wearing a seatbelt at the time.

Twenty-five-year-old Peter Fargher was in the back of a car driven by Sean Webb when it hit two vehicles on the Ballamodha Straight, killing a mother and daughter.

Mr Webb was later convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, and now faces a compensation claim from Mr Fargher after the crash left him unable to live independently.

In the High Court, Deemster Corlett heard evidence from Mr Webb's advocate that Mr Fargher had contributed to his own injuries by failing to buckle up.

The court heard Mr Fargher had been thrown clear from the car during the 80mph crash in October 2003, and suffered extensive brain injuries when he hit the road.

Doctor Stephen Ratenbury, on Mr Webb's behalf, said he thought the car had been hit in the side and if a seatbelt had been worn it was unlikely Mr Fargher would have been ejected from the vehicle.

But Accident reconstruction expert Stephen Henderson, on behalf of Mr Fargher, said the way the Ford Escort had broken apart indicated it was hit from behind, so it was unlikely a seatbelt would have helped.

Deemster Corlett said he believed a seatbelt wouldn't have stopped Mr Fargher being thrown from the car, so the damages awarded shouldn't be reduced because of contributory negligence.

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