Compensation for shattered dreams
Date: February 10, 2018 by IDU
Those on two wheels are especially vulnerable, especially in traffic-choked cites. So too are pedestrians, as in the tragic recent case of cyclist Charlie Alliston who knocked down and killed 44-year-old mother of two Kim Briggs as she crossed Old Street, east London, on 12 February 2016. In that case Alliston was riding a “fixie” (a fixed-gear track bicycle with no front brake) which is not road legal.
Charges of death by dangerous or careless driving only apply to people in charge of motorised vehicles so cannot be used when a pedestrian is run over by a cyclist. Alliston was cleared of manslaughter charges but found guilty using an archaic 150-year-old law of causing bodily harm by “wanton or furious driving”.
Alliston may face a custodial sentence, but the family of Kim Briggs face a lifetime without a wife and mother. Even when the consequences of any accident are not so grave, you may need help to rebuild your life, maybe coming to terms with an amputation or other serious and persistent injury – physical or psychological.
Sometimes though it’s not just the physical injuries that hurt most. Access Legal Solicitors acted for Mrs Brand, who was working as a part-time nurse and was hoping to secure a post as a midwife, having completed a degree course in midwifery.
Her main means of transport was her bicycle, for practical reasons of health and convenience as well as enjoyment more than anything else. While cycling to work she was struck by a car because the driver simply ‘failed to see her’ despite her wearing all the right high-vis clothing. She suffered severe damage to her legs and knee, requiring a total knee replacement operation.
We were we able to obtain an early admission of liability and full rehabilitation funded by interim payments which also assisted her financially during the period she had to undergo treatment. Whilst she did make an excellent recovery from the first operation, the nature of her injuries meant that Mrs Brand was left with a permanent disability that will require at least one further knee replacement in her lifetime. As a consequence, her days as a cyclist were also at and end.
More significantly, a court-appointed expert orthopaedic surgeon doubted whether she would be able to find any job given her physical limitations and concluded that she would never fulfil her dream of becoming a midwife. We did get co-operation from the other side’s insurers on a number of issues, but their original offers fell well below the settlement figure we proposed of £165,000.
Such a sum, although never making up for her shattered dream, would at least help her with finding suitable accommodation and as well as funding the practical support, equipment and aids she would require and allow her to pursue other options that might fulfil her as much as midwifery could have done.
Through skilful negotiations and a determination to press on with litigation if necessary, we were able to secure that sum and therefore the possibility of still enjoying a fulfilled and happy life for Mrs Brand without the need for a trial.