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Compensation And Rehabilitation Secured For Cyclist Despite Liability Issues

 Mr D was riding his bicycle across a pedestrian crossing which crossed a dual carriageway when he was struck by a car being driven by the Defendant. Liability on this case was quite tricky due to complicating factors - Mr D had crossed the road when the lights were actually green for the traffic and not for him, and also that he had emerged from in front of a large van in the nearside which hadn’t yet had chance to move off at the green light because Mr D had entered the road.  The Defendant had been travelling in the outside lane, and had overtaken the stationary van in the nearside lane to enter the crossing area.

Mr D sustained a severe brain injury, undergoing inpatient rehabilitation for five months and requiring extensive speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychological therapy.  When he was finally able to return home, he required a great deal of care support from his family and was unable to return to work for a long period.  When he did finally return to work, he could only work on a part time basis with supervision from his supportive employers.  The family were gradually working through their savings and Mr D’s future looked very uncertain.

At first, Mr D and his wife did not contact solicitors.  The police decided not to prosecute the driver and told the family that what happened was a “50-50 accident” with blame on both sides.  Mr D and his wife believed that this meant Mr D could not possibly have a personal injury claim.  Thankfully Mr D was advised around a year later by his social worker that he should contact a solicitor in spite of what the police had said, and Mr D did so.

Irwin Mitchell agreed to investigate his case.  There was no doubt that it was a very difficult case and there was a real risk Mr D may lose.  His case was taken on using a Conditional Fee Agreement, which allowed Mr D to investigate his case without financial risk to himself.  He would not have been able to investigate his case without such an agreement.

We instructed our collision investigation unit to obtain the paperwork from the police and interview numerous witnesses.  Crucially it was established that the Defendant had, at a speed of around 30mph, overtaken the van which hadn’t yet moved off in the nearside lane.  This was a breach of the Highway Code, parts of which are enshrined into law.  We instructed an accident reconstruction expert to recreate the collision to provide evidence as to the Defendant’s actions and likely speed. 

In November 2011, Mr D’s case was successfully settled.  It was agreed that he should receive 25% in respect of liability, which meant that he would receive 25% of the value of his claim.  Taking into account his serious injury, he received over £110,000 in damages.  This sum has meant that Mr D and his family have a secure future.

It is important to note that Mr D did not believe he could possibly have a legal claim for the first year after his injury, as he did not appreciate that the standard of proof for a criminal case is higher than the standard for a civil claim.  Without the support of his social worker and the fact that IM were willing to take on such a difficult case, Mr D would not have received the compensation to which he was entitled and his future would still be hanging in the balance.

If you’ve been injured in a road traffic accident whilst cycling, our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Cycling Accident Compensation page for more information.

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