Reconstruction: Crash investigation wins cyclist’s claim

Reconstruction: Crash investigation wins cyclist’s claim

Crash investigation wins cyclist’s claim This claim was difficult in many ways and all of these factors put together had the potential to cause great hardship to the injured cyclist and his family making it important that the facts were established quickly. These are the facts that we were presented with and which our investigations were based upon:

  • The incident involved a collision between a Class l LGV and a cyclist.
  • There were no witnesses. Other road users assisted almost immediately but none were present when the accident occurred.
  • The cyclist suffered severe brain injury and therefore had no recollection of events.
  • The cyclist was self employed and so when he wasn’t at work he wasn’t earning. The cyclist had a wife and 3 children and was the main breadwinner.
  • The Insurers of the LGV alleged that the cyclist was negligent and would not deal with the claim until the conclusion of police investigations. The driver of the LGV indicated a not guilty plea to the charge of driving without due care and attention.

 

The family of the injured cyclist were under severe financial pressure as they travelled from their home to three different hospitals where he was being treated and rehabilitated. This was not helped by the fact that the criminal investigation into the incident was ongoing and the police could not disclose anything above the names, addresses, and insurance details of the parties involved. If the family in this claim had waited until the investigation had concluded they would now be facing significant financial hardship.

In order to get things moving more quickly our team set about investigating the incident ourselves. The first thing to be established was the exact location of the accident and after a few telephone conversations with the appropriate people we narrowed the location down to within 100 metres.

We then established the make and model of the LGV and some research with the manufacturer led to an accurate width for the Tractor. This proved to be very useful in our investigations.

Our investigators attended the scene of the incident at dawn in November 2008 and using the information we had obtained regarding the tractors positioning, the dual carriageway was marked to show us the corridor in which the cyclist was expected to ride. It became glaringly obvious that he Tractor had not left the cyclist with enough room to proceed safely. This was backed up by the relevant section of The Highway Code which states that when being overtaken, cyclists should be left with as much room as you would allow any other vehicle. This had not been the case.

We were so confident that we could prove the driver had been negligent that we issued civil proceedings seeking damages for the cyclist before the conclusion of the criminal investigation and before the release of the police investigation report.
 

We continued to collect evidence using a vehicle mounted camera to trail a number of identical LGV vehicles along the same dual carriageway past the scene to illustrate the absence of space left for a cyclist.

Once civil proceedings were up and running it was possible to ask the managing Judge to allow an interim payment of damages to ease their financial strains and although the criminal proceedings remained unresolved the insurers made a £30,000 interim payment to the cyclist.

Nine months after the accident occurred, the LGV driver saw the error of his ways and pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. It was a further 3 months before his insurers admitted 100{9b4a2c8832b2482ca7eb937f6bfa363e1f3f7cb05e1b42927da41c9eadde8c32} liability.

The reconstruction and investigation work we carried out in this claim was especially important for 2 reasons:
 

  • Firstly, If the civil court process had not been utilise it is unlikely that the cyclist or his family would receive any compensation until at least nine months after the accident. This would have meant nine months of additional expenses and zero income.
  • Secondly, there were no witnesses. Without our own evidence this claim would not have gone anywhere.

 

When the police file was finally made available it revealed that the accident had occurred in exactly the position we had predicted. It also came to light that the damage indicated an impact between the front of the LGV and the rear of the cyclist. There was no wavering or wobbling by the cyclist whatsoever.

People aren’t always aware of the fact that a claim for compensation can only be made once. It is important that you choose a specialist with the relevant skills and expertise to ensure your claim is dealt with correctly from day one.

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