Afghan family tradition integral to fatal smart motorway claim | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Afghan family tradition integral to fatal smart motorway claim

Jennifer Buchanan and Lewis Ayre settled a fatal accident claim on behalf of the family of 19-year-old Zack Ali* who was killed on a section of the M1 in Bedfordshire with no hard shoulder.

Mr Ali immigrated to the UK with his family from Afghanistan as a child and went on to study law at Middlesex University. He was travelling with five other students to represent the university in a sports fixture.

The vehicle suffered a mechanical problem and pulled into an emergency refuge area. It remained stationary for about 12 seconds before re-entering the carriageway. It then stopped again on a smart lane, operating as a live lane with no hard shoulder.

Three cars were able to avoid the car but a lorry then crashed into it, killing Mr Ali and seriously injuring four others. At the inquest, the coroner issued a Preventing Future Deaths warning to Highways England arising from safety concerns around smart motorways.

Jennifer and Lewis represented Mr Ali's family including his two sisters living with morquios syndrome. The road traffic accident claim against the driver's motor insurers was run on the prediction that Mr Ali would have become a lawyer when he graduated.

It was also based on Afghan tradition that the youngest son looks after his parents and family. Mr Ali would likely have entered into an arranged marriage in his 20s, providing such services to his family. Generally, fatal cases on behalf of teenagers only recover minor awards.

The defendant insurer sought to blame the driver of the vehicle Mr Ali was in and his failure to wear a seatbelt. All allegations were eventually dropped or defeated at trial in separate proceedings.

Jennifer and Lewis secured a six-figure settlement less than 2 weeks before trial. The settlement will provide Mr Ali's family with financial security and recognised that Mr Ali was entirely blameless in this tragic incident.

"Fieldfisher has supported our family in a very tough time. They provided amazing support and managed our case successfully. We want to thank them for all their effort and hardwork towards our case."

Contact us

For further information about fatal injury claims and road traffic accident claims, please call Jennifer Buchanan on 03304606774 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.