A primary school learning mentor who suffered 18 months of whiplash pain following a road traffic accident caused by a badly parked lorry has received £3,500 compensation through her trade union's legal scheme.

Christine Morton, from Leeds, was on her way to pick up two children who had not turned up at Raynville Primary school, in Bramley. As she tried to turn right onto Raynville Road her view was blocked by a large asphalt wagon belonging to local firm Asphaltic Roofing Supplies. She was hit by a car overtaking the wagon.

The lorry driver, Bernard Wilcox, had parked it there while in his flat having lunch, something he did regularly and which had been complained of by local residents before.

Following the accident, and after four months of pressure, the police stopped Mr Wilcox from parking there.

Negligent for parking less than 10m from junction

An original admission of liability by Mrs Morton's insurers in response to a claim against her by the other car driver was withdrawn after her case was taken up by her trade union Unison and handed to union lawyers Thompsons. The case was tried on 2 March 2005 at Leeds County Court and Mr Wilcox was found to have been negligent in parking less than 10 metres from the junction. He was ordered to pay 50% of the damages and costs.

The remainder was split between the car driver who, even though he was driving at or near the speed limit, should have slowed down when overtaking the lorry, the Judge said, and Mrs Morton for not craning her head around the lorry before pulling out.

Mrs Morton's solicitor Helen Tomlin commented: "This accident holds a number of important lessons for other drivers. First is not to automatically accept what your insurer tells you. Always seek legal advice through your trade union. Second that you can still be found negligent for driving at the speed limit. And finally, if you think dangerously parked vehicles are causing a hazard, inform the police."

Christine Morton added: "This was a terrible experience which not only left me in a great deal of pain, but has completely shaken my confidence when driving. If I had not used my trade union legal scheme I might have ended up having to pay all the damages and costs of the other driver."