Head Injury = No Recollection

We deal with so many cases where our client , as a result of the head injury , cannot recall how the accident occurred. Insurers will seek to take advantage of this , especially if there are no witnesses as there are so often are not. It’s when physical pieces of evidence , eg the damaged cycle,damage to the vehicle, photos of both , and digital evidence, CCTV , Garmin, Strava, take even more importance than they would normally. It’s also where the work that the police do at the scene of an accident takes more importance than usual. The input of  a road accident reconstruction engineer can also be invaluable in piecing such evidence together. Cyclists should not be penalised because of the severity of the head injury they have sustained at the hands of a negligent motorist who can recall what happened perfectly because they were encased in an  aluminium shell . Helmetted or not, cyclists sustain more head injuries than other road users and it’s crucial that they are protected in terms of making a full civil recovery from the...

Hit and Run in Islington,police too under resourced to catch the driver.

The harsh reality of living under such swingeing government cuts was again brought home to us at Cycle Legal late last week. A new instruction , young mother left for dead in a hit and run in Islington (cyclists and pedestrians are the predominant victims of hit and runs) and a bus driver who saw everything and stayed until the police arrived. He volunteered his bus camera which almost certainly would catch the vehicle registration of the offending car , he couldn’t do anything more , good on him. Police tell our client that they can’t obtain bus footage unless the bus is involved in the accident , we know this is absolute rubbish and is their way of managing their resources and letting the driver away scot free. There is also local authority cameras at the scene which might help us find the car and the offending driver. Because we have been instructed early on , we have written to the police , the council, a nearby school and the bus company as soon as we obtain their details from the police. The all important 30 day window before footage is deleted and gone forever gives us a chance , to put it bluntly, to do the police’s job for...

Uber avoiding responsibility

I’ve blogged before on this issue, Uber  and Addison Lee passengers opening doors into the path of  cyclists. It’s likely to be a recurring theme, since they are determined ,and they have the resources of course , to avoid liability for the acts of their passengers. In a current case, they have inserted an exclusion clause into the insurance policy to escape such liability and now seek to rely on this , after the passenger has been prosecuted for opening door to danger and my client has a broken collar bone. A further muddying of the waters is whether there is any liability on the driver for allowing/ encouraging the passenger to open the door without warning him of cyclists who might be passing. Should passengers be made aware that by stepping into one of Uber’s or Addison Lee’s cars that they will be on their own facing legal action, for which they have no insurance, if they try to alight from the cab when they have reached their destination ? My crusade is to make sure that the cyclist receives something for what he has gone through and what he is left with and that a mighty multi national organisation does not escape liability for a completely forseeable...

Another Uber passenger,another injured cyclist.

This time, it’s an ongoing case and a long chat today with a barrister over the use of a vehicle and whether the passenger’s act in opening the door constitutes use of the vehicle. It seems to me that large scale insurers , eg Uber and Addison Lee , are deliberately putting into their insurance contracts a clause that excludes passenger liability, whereas the average motor policy does cover the passenger, through the driver’s insurance , so that the injured cyclist does not suffer injustice. In this case, we may be forced to pursue the passenger personally which doesn’t seem right at all, either for my injured cyclist client or for the passenger themselves. Will keep thinking and working on this one....

Head Injured Cyclist , Risk of Epilepsy

We finished a claim this week for ,Jack, a software developer client who had a head injury following a lorry collision .He was cycling with friends to go climbing one Saturday near Elephant and Castle when the cycling accident happened. Like many head injured cyclists, his memory of the accident was hazy and we had real trouble with the Met Police , their investigation was sub standard and this could have affected Jack’s chances of succeeding with his case. Even more sinister than that was that he was dealing direct with the insurers before he approached us and even though they knew he had sustained a head injury, they were quite happy for the case to be dealt with through a GP report. Where a head injury , including loss of consciousness has taken place , and where the hospital have carried out a brain scan,the head injured cyclist should be seen by a neurologist ,the wait will be longer and the fee won’t be small but the insurers will pay this fee and it means that the injury will be dealt with properly. We are accredited by Headway, the brain injury charity,and a key part of that training is to obtain the right expert reports and spend the necessary time with the client in order to look into the case fully. Thankfully , Jack made a great recovery and the insurers were willing to pay even more than a good settlement to take into account the slightly increased epilepsy risk that he will have in the future. I use the word sinister about the insurers since from April...

Success against an Uber door opening passenger !

Delighted to report a success against the mighty Uber in a claim against one of their drivers. The unusual feature was that it was a passenger , not the driver , who opened the door. Representing cyclists for so long means that we have extensive experience of these cases and insurers of cab companies often try to avoid liability by blaming the passenger. Our client a lovely Russian lady who organises tea events needed surgery to her finger after the accident and still has a functional impairment . Great to make a recovery for her after what she had to go through and several solicitors wouldn’t take it on since their view was that the claim would fail. We’ll be trying to use this success in an ongoing tussle against Addison Lee , on exactly the same facts, and this follows a long hard fought case against Addison Lee many years ago for a seriously head injured client who was knocked unconscious by a passenger opening a door, Addison Lee denied it for years before eventually caving in to sustained litigation pressure. Cyclists should be just as protected by the law on a passenger opening a door just as much as a driver doing the same thing, indeed possibly even more so since a passenger door flying open is more...

High Court Hearings

Looking forward to two back to back hearings tomorrow at the Royal Courts of Justice,one of the lovely things about running your own firm is doing your own advocacy.I had to request the listings office at the High Court to move one hearing an hour back since they were both listed at the same time . Thankfully, they agreed since we are a niche firm and don’t have the resources of a corporation. Nor would our clients want us to...

Payout for woman who walked in front of cyclist.

I was telephoned last night ,while watching the Tory leadership debate, to be invited for an interview on LBC this morning on the Nick Ferrari show about this case , just decided at 50/50 at Central London County Court. Sadly, some breaking news meant they couldn’t cover the story this am but it’s a fascinating case. For me, there is a hierarchy of vulnerability out there on the streets and pedestrians come first and the elderly , very young and disabled pedestrians at the top  . Cyclists are next, motorcyclists after, and so on. So,I think the judge was right in this case to lean slightly in favour of the most vulnerable road user , the pedestrian. It’s an argument I have successfully used and continue to use in favour of cyclists so many times, that they are the vulnerable road user against say, a car or HGV lorry and should therefore receive the protection of the court. Mostly, they do and rightly so. It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for Mr Hazeldean the cyclist in this case ,who was blameless according to several witnesses, but the driver or rider in the bigger vehicle has to look out for a more vulnerable road user than them and drive or ride accordingly. Bluntly, all drivers and riders especially in urban environments should keep eyes out for pedestrians on their phones in 2019 , just like they should watch for kids running out and even drunk people staggering into their path ; all of these pedestrians are a danger only to themselves and deserve as much protection in my view...

success in Portsmouth ! Hip replacement likely following cycle accident.

Successfully concluded a substantial case last week for a cyclist badly injured at a roundabout in Southampton by a DVD van driver who failed to give way . Client in his 40’s was transferred from Portsmouth to Southampton because of the complexity of his fracture.  Liabilty fully admitted although the insurers needed considerable pressure before they buckled. Orthopaedic surgeons in these times are more specialist than they used to be, and it was essential to have a hip specialist , as opposed to an upper limb expert, to instruct in this case because so much featured on the percentage chances of a hip replacement in the future,and then a revision to the replacement. Much focused as it often does on the nature of the claimant’s work and how the cycling injury impacts on this. Great...

london walking and cycling festival , Guildhall.

Did a presentation for the second year running on my Cycle to the Lane idea for Spurs fans to cycle to their new ground. The best thing about doing a talk like this is the ideas that you hadn’t thought of which people suggest to you afterwards and the people you get talking to. Made some great contacts who i’m sure will be really helpful in what i plan to achieve, a sea change in how football fans, music fans travel to and from their events. A great day , one of the many things I found out was that there is a Healthy Streets Event going on in July at Ally Pally which I will attend and will be able to meet there Haringey councillors who could help me to achieve what I wish to with Spurs . Mayor Khan and the Mayor of Hackney also spoke and there was so much to take from it. A day when you feel reassurance that the city is continuing to move in the right direction. Spurs today, Premier League...