Drivers' Duty Of Care Emphasised After Road Traffic Crash Leads To Amputation

Man Injured In Car Crash On Side Of Road


17 year old Ryan Callier suffered severe multiple orthopaedic injuries to his pelvis and right leg in a road traffic crash on 28 June 2004. Despite a long period in hospital and numerous operations in an attempt to salvage his leg, the injuries were so severe that his right leg was amputated below knee 5 months after the crash.

The case was issued at court after the driver of the vehicle which caused Ryan's crash denied that he was responsible and alleged that Ryan was to blame for the collision. At the time of his crash Ryan had been stationary on his bicycle on the side of the road and was texting his mum to tell her that he was on the way home. The driver of the vehicle overtook a large Land Rover which caused him to go so far over the southbound carriageway that he collided with Ryan who was stationary on the side of the road.

His Honour Judge McKenna who heard the case at the High Court of Justice on 13 and 14 January 2009 ruled that by overtaking where he did, the driver was exposing other road users to a risk of injury. HHJ McKenna concluded that the driver was responsible for the collision but reduced Ryan's claim for compensation on the grounds that he was difficult to see as did not have lights on his bike and was standing partially on the carriageway. Ryan is entitled to 45% of his claimed compensation from the driver's insurer.

The driver's barrister requested permission to appeal the decision but this was refused by HHJ McKenna. The driver's solicitors have now applied directly to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the decision.

Sarah Griggs, personal injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell represented Ryan and welcomed the Judgment. She said "Ryan approached my firm on the recommendation of the charity, RoadPeace which provides support for victims of road crashes. This has been a long running battle for Ryan and his family and the ruling supports the message of RoadPeace that drivers have a duty to protect more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

"I fully appreciate the importance for cyclists to protect their own safety by having lights on their bicycle; but the fact of the matter is that a car driving at 60 mph is a lethal weapon and all drivers have an absolute duty to foresee other road-users and not take chances that can lead to such serious consequences".