Woman Controversially Awarded Compensation After Bike Crash

A woman who was hit by a cyclist after stepping out into the road has been awarded compensation. While the decision may not appear controversial at first, the circumstances of the case have divided opinions.

The ruling has been called controversial as Gemma Brushett was distracted by her phone when she stepped into the road, and the traffic lights were green for the cyclist, Robert Hazeldean. Both parties were knocked unconscious by the collision in July 2015, but the cyclist will have to pay Ms Brushett damages. Although the incident took place over 4 years ago, the case has only just been settled in the courts.

Mr Hazeldean was approaching a junction at the northern end of London Bridge when Ms Brushett stepped into the road. He sounded an air horn to warn her of his approach, but this caused her to panic and try to get back to a traffic island. Unfortunately, Mr Hazeldean had swerved in the same direction to try and avoid hitting her, which is when they collided.

In her summary of the case, Judge Mauger detailed why she had found that Ms Brushett should receive a payout from Mr Hazeldean: ‘When I stand back and ask “how did the accident happen?” it seems to me that Mr Hazeldean owed a duty to other road users to drive with reasonable care and skill […] Mr Hazeldean did fall below the level to be expected of a reasonably competent cyclist in that he did proceed when the road was not completely clear.’

If a pedestrian is established on the road, even if a vehicle or cyclist has the right of way, the pedestrian has right of way by default. So, in this case, even though the lights were on green for the cyclist, Mr Hazeldean, Ms Brushett had right of way.

The judge also added: ‘Ms. Brushett must clearly have equal responsibility if she is crossing the road without looking – and if she is looking at her phone, even more so. But cyclists must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways. The appropriate finding is that the parties were equally responsible, and I make a finding of liability at 50/50.’

Another cyclist who witnessed the incident said that Hazeldean was in the wrong and had behaved in an ‘arrogant and reckless’ manner, while 3 other witnesses said that Ms Brushett had been using her phone and was distracted when she went into the road. The judge, however, found that the parties were equally to blame. Judge Shanti Mauger believed that although Hazeldean was a ‘calm and reasonable road user’, cyclists should be ‘prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways’.

The judge’s ruling means that Ms Brushett will receive compensation, but the exact figure she will receive is unknown and will be fixed at a later date. It is likely that, as the judge has ruled that the parties had equal responsibility in the accident, she will only be awarded half of the value of her original claim.

If you have would like to discuss a similar accident or have been affected by this story, then it is in your best interest to get in contact with us at The Compensation Experts where we can discuss your legal issue and help you to make a claim.

A Guide to Understanding Cycling Accident Compensation

Though great for your health and the environment, cycling poses several risks of its own. The lack of protection from other drivers and even unsafe road conditions could turn your comfortable bike ride to work into a disastrous accident. Therefore, cycling accident compensation claims are a difficult reality in the UK.

In many cases, these injuries might occur due to the negligence of another party.

For example, say the driver of a car doesn’t check their blind spot and strikes you. You can subsequently sue them for compensation. An improperly paved road that caused you to lose control could mean you have a case against the city.

The difficulty in these cases, and why you should always hire an experienced attorney, is that in most cases the furthest a plaintiff can go with their case of negligence is contributory negligence, which puts both parties to blame for the accident. Not know how to make personal injury claims? Read on.

Can You Claim for Cycling Accident Compensation?

Indeed, you can. Just as you can claim compensation after a driving accident. Or, if a car strikes you as a pedestrian.

So, too, can a person claim compensation as a cyclist. In fact, you’ve mostly the same rights, too. Not a moment too soon, either: there exists significant cycling accident statistics in the UK. In 2018, RoSPA reports 4,106 serious injuries and over 13 thousand slight injuries amongst cyclists.

What are the Complications When Making a Claim?

Even if this is the case, there are some complications. A pedestrian struck on the pavement has no responsibility in the accident. Accordingly, the vehicle that hits them violates the rules of the road.

As cyclists and motorists share the road, however, this can make compensation claims a bit more tricky. This is because the cyclist faces distractions at the time of the accident.

As a cyclist, it’s your responsibility to be attentive at all times. Other elements can also be a distraction when making a compensation claim.

  • For example, listening to music on the way to work or;
  • Alternatively, taking a drink from your water bottle.

Although this may be true, this does not rule out your ability to win a claim. However, it does increase the likelihood that the amount you receive will be deducted. This is what often happens because these cases are contributorily negligent. In other words, you were partly to blame for the accident. The case is, if you face no distractions, you will be able to stop in time or avoid the accident.

The other complication is that judges, in general, aren’t very familiar with cycling injuries and accidents. That is why hiring a knowledgeable lawyer can help, as they will explain in legal terms the case in a way the judge can understand.

The Issue of Distractions

Contributory negligence does not mean you won’t receive compensation. It just means the total amount they award you is subject to a discount, sometimes by as much as 25%.

However, the exact amount will depend on how complicit the judge believes you were in the accident. The argument holds then that – if you face distractions – you can, therefore, ride away, stop, or otherwise minimise the accident from occurring.

If a driver breaks the law while injuring you (instead of, say, turning lanes without checking their blind spot), then you have a very solid case.

What to Do If You Have Been a Victim to a Cycling Accident

If you have been the victim of a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault, then you will want to:

  1. Seek Out a Lawyer.
  2. Seek Out Professional Rehabilitation.

By doing so, you give yourself the best chance of being compensated for a personal injury accident claim.