£30,000 Cycling Claim Settlement Highlights the Importance of Insurance
Posted Feb 26, 2020.
The importance of cyclists taking out insurance
A recently settled accident claim involving a cyclist and pedestrian has highlighted what can happen to cyclists who are uninsured should they find themselves involved in a civil litigation claim for damages and legal costs.
The claim in question involved a collision between a cyclist, Robert Hazeldean and a pedestrian, Gemma Brushett. The collision took place during the busy rush-hour period in London in 2015, resulting in both parties being left unconscious. When the case went to court in 2019, even though Brushett was found to have been busying looking at her smartphone at the time of the collision, the judge ruled that both she and Hazeldean were equally responsible for the collision. However, as Brushett was the only party to submit a claim following the collision, under current English civil litigation law only she would be entitled to compensation and Hazeldean would lose out.
Damages and Legal Costs
Following significant changes in English law through April 2013’s LASPO Act, a new system to manage costs in litigation -including personal injury claims - called ‘qualified one way costs shifting’ (‘QOCS’ for short) was introduced. Under QOCS, if only one party involved actually proceeds with a claim and the other party does not submit a counter claim, then the party not claiming may be liable for both damages and legal costs. As Hazeldean was not insured – as is still the case with most cyclists in the UK – he was originally facing having to pay Brushett’s £112,000 in legal costs by himself. If Hazeldean had been insured, Brushetts costs would have been capped at £6,690; now facing financial ruin at having to pay such a large sum, a GoFundMe page was set up on behalf of Hazeldean which raised £59,000 towards the costs bill.
Finally in February 2020, Hazeldean announced that the claim would now be settled for £30,000 in third party costs. Even so, when added to his own costs of £25,000 and damages of £4,300, he would still need to fund just under £3,000 himself. Not ideal, but far more manageable than the original £112,000. In commenting on the settlement, Hazeldean said
“It’s not the result I was hoping for, but everything was spiralling and the risk of being bankrupted regardless of the outcome was too high. I felt I didn’t really have a choice.”
Whilst disenchanted by the current law and compensation process, Hazeldean was extremely thankful for the support and donations he had received, saying:
“I was struck by how many said it could easily have been them. Not just that they could been involved in an accident, but that they could have spent four hellish years being dragged inexorably towards bankruptcy.”
Hazeldean added that his case highlighted the importance of cyclists taking out insurance to cover themselves in similar situations.
Cycling Injury Claims Advice from Bakers Solicitors
At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience in representing claimants who have been injured by an accident whilst cycling through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love delighting our clients when they receive injury compensation they deserve.
If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.