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Who is to Blame for a Road Accident? There's Not Always a Binary Answer

In the heat of the moment, people are wont to express strong, binary opinions as to where blame for a road accident lies but, from the legal perspective, liability issues can be much more difficult to resolve. That was certainly so in the case of a cyclist who was riding on an A road when he was struck by a car and gravely injured.

The man had been celebrating his birthday before he was hit from behind at night, suffering a displaced ankle fracture and a traumatic brain injury. It was claimed that the motorist was driving too fast. Liability was, however, denied by the motorist's insurers, who pointed to CCTV footage that was said to show the cyclist riding erratically on the trunk road with a can of beer in his hand.

That impasse was tackled through the negotiation of a settlement on the cyclist's behalf. The full value of his claim having been agreed at £837,500, a compromise was reached whereby the insurers would pay him one third of that sum. In approving the settlement, the High Court found that it fairly reflected litigation risks and was in his best interests.

The cyclist's head injury led to cognitive impairment, disruptive behavioural patterns and a reduction in life expectancy. He was a challenging character prior to the accident, but his lifestyle has since become more conventional and fulfilling. That is in large part thanks to his close relationship with his partner, a remarkable woman who befriended him in hospital after the accident.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.