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Cyclist Left In A Wheelchair After Being Injured In Hit And Run

A cyclist left wheelchair reliant after being knocked eight feet through the air by a hit and run motorist has spoken of his ordeal to raise awareness of the importance of road safety.

Graham Andrews from East Preston in West Sussex, was left fighting for his life after suffering life changing injuries following the collision on 16 March 2008 as he was travelling home. He was thrown on to the grass verge, where he was found by 2 passersby who contacted the emergency services. Mr Andrews was rendered paraplegic by this collision and has been in a wheelchair since the collision almost 6 years ago.

The 45-year-old instructed lawyers who lodged an Application with the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) who compensate victims of uninsured or untraced drivers. His claim was refused by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) as they concluded that there was no evidence that Graham had been struck by an untraced vehicle. His lawyers at the time advised Graham that they were no longer prepared to act for him. Graham contacted Irwin Mitchell LLP in 2009, to take over conduct of his claim.

Irwin Mitchell successfully lodged an appeal on Graham’s behalf at a hearing which took place in January 2012 which paved the way for vital interim payments as Graham had received no payments since the date of the collision. More recently, a further interim payment in the region of £60,000 has been agreed and a final settlement is yet to be agreed as Graham will now finally undergo intensive rehabilitation as the MIB has now agreed to fund inpatient treatment at the Wellington Hospital where Graham receives physiotherapy. This treatment program is designed by a Spinal Rehabilitation Specialist, and the aim is to determine whether Graham will ever walk again.

Asha Vekaria represented Graham. She said: The injuries which Graham suffered in the collision have been life changing for him and he is only now starting to rebuild his life. 

“We were able to appeal the MIB’s initial decision to refuse the case, which has now led to us being able to secure vital funds for Graham’s rehabilitation costs so he can continue to learn to adapt to living with his disabilities. 

“Sadly, we continue to see so many people whose lives have been devastated as a consequence of road traffic collisions, particularly cyclists. 

“We have repeatedly called for all road users to take greater care and be more vigilant of others in order to improve road safety. We hope Graham’s case acts as a reminder about how important it is for motorists and cyclists to share the roads safely to prevent serious injury.”

Graham, who previous occupation was as an Engineer, said: “The accident has totally changed my life; I have had to adapt and get my head round the fact that I am probably never going to walk again. I am also unable to work due to my injuries. I do still have some hope in the back of my mind, but I am now in the routine of living life in a wheelchair.

“My team at Irwin Mitchell have worked to secure interim payments for my rehabilitation which is a lifeline to me and I am determined to continuously improve and work on my progress.

“Before the accident I did a lot of cycling, I used to cycle everywhere, to work or with my children; this is one of the simple things that I really miss. I am hoping to one day get a hand cycle for exercising and just for the enjoyment of cycling.

“More need to be done to make the roads safe. On the one hand we are being encouraged to cycle more and leave the cars at home, but on the other hand, when cyclists are being seriously injured or killed as often as they are at the moment, it puts people off and measures need to be put in place to reassure cyclists that their safety is being considered.”

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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