Cyclists are always likely to come off worst in collisions with motor vehicles but, if the worst happens, expert personal injury lawyers are there to ensure that they receive just compensation. In a case on point recently reviewed by Ayah Masri, a promising young man whose career hopes were dashed when he was knocked off his bike at a junction received seven-figure damages.
The cyclist was in his early 30s and was cycling home from work when a car hit him as it turned right. The driver had entered the junction at slightly over the 20 mph speed limit and it was alleged during proceedings that, had he been travelling more slowly, the collision would have been avoided or its severity lessened.
The driver’s motor insurers, however, denied liability for the accident and claimed that the cyclist had himself been careless. The accident happened in the hours of darkness and the bike was not fitted with a front light. The cyclist was not wearing a helmet and was clad in dark clothing. Despite this, a settlement of his claim was negotiated for a lump sum of £6.1 million.
The cyclist, a foreign national, had come to Britain to attend school and had been living in this county for about 20 years prior to the accident. Fluent in two languages, he was employed and studying for an advanced professional qualification at the time. He had settled status in the UK and intended to apply for British citizenship.
He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in the collision, together with multiple fractures to his face and spine. He was a hospital inpatient for 10 weeks and returned to his homeland the year after the accident. Reliant on his parents’ care, he has deficits in his vision and has only partial use of his right arm and leg. Cognitively impaired, he suffers from mood swings and is unlikely to return to paid employment.
Approving the settlement, the High Court acknowledged the sensible compromise that had been reached. There would have been clear litigation risks had the case proceeded to a contested trial. The settlement promised a financially secure future for the cyclist who, with the support of his devoted parents, had made great efforts to come to terms with his disabilities and make the most of his life.
Insurers will always do what they can to minimise their costs, which makes the need for strong and experienced legal representation crucial.
If you have been injured as a result of an accident on the road, you may be entitled to damages.