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We secured a settlement of £400,000 for an Indian woman who suffered a serious brain injury after being knocked down in the road by a cyclist while working in the UK on secondment.
The case was complex because bringing a road accident claim against a cyclist remains fairly unusual – it was not immediately clear what insurance policy was in place to cover it. Also, our client wanted to continue to live and work both in the UK and her home country, and her compensation needed to reflect this.
In 2012 our client was working in the UK as a software tester. Walking home from work one day, she crossed to a pedestrian island in the middle of the road. While she was waiting on the island to cross the next part of the road, a cyclist came round the roundabout close by and crashed into her.
The woman suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and was treated at two separate hospitals in the UK before being transferred to Bangalore in India. She developed a serious weakness in her left side, affecting her balance and limiting her ability to move independently. The crash caused cognitive damage as well, and she began to have problems with memory and concentration, and to need more time to process basic information.
Her home and work life were considerably affected. She approached us as specialists in both serious injury claims and cases with an international element, to see if we could help her get compensation to access the kind of rehabilitative care she needed to get her life back on track.
Many aspects of the case meant that it was not straightforward. Unlike motorists, cyclists do not need to have insurance in place to cover accidents such as this. The first detail to deal with was therefore just finding an insurer who would take on the claim. Eventually we were able to start the claim against an insurer that came under the cyclist’s home insurance.
However, after that there were still many obstacles. Because of her head injury, our client could not remember the accident. The police had not investigated it in any great detail and eye witness accounts varied; many of them had not seen the actual point of collision.
The cyclist’s insurers denied responsibility. The claim became increasingly complicated as we had to arrange a split trial – the first part to settle the issue of liability, the second to work out the actual value of any compensation.
We worked with accident reconstruction experts to work out what had happened. This allowed us to determine what both the cyclist and our client had done in the moments before the crash, looking at the damage caused, the likely speed of the bike, the angle of collision and other related factors. This meant we could build a strong case to show that the cyclist was in fact at fault.
Our client was keen to move on with her life and bring the case to a close. We had only a few months to make sure that any compensation calculated and agreed was appropriate to her earnings, both here and in the UK.
Since the accident she had had to take a less skilled job, and while she was not earning any less, it had an impact on her bonus schemes and other financial opportunities. Also, although her earnings were in the Indian currency of Rupees, she still intended to work sometimes in the UK, so the compensation had to allow for that. We worked with her family and colleagues in India to get the statements and documents needed to show the full impact the accident had had, and would continue to have, on her life.
We were able to bring everything together in time to agree a settlement of £400,000.
Representing the lady was Sofie Toft, a specialist Serious Injury lawyer based in our London office. She said of the settlement: "This was a very successful outcome for a complicated case that had many unique elements. We're pleased to have secured compensation that gives our client the peace of mind to know she can get the treatment and care she needs in future."
If you or a loved has been involved in a road traffic accident as a pedestrian, our personal injury solicitors could help you to claim compensation. Visit our Pedestrian Accident Claims page for more information.
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