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Time Pays Off on a Cycling Injury Claim


Taking the time to get the right compensation for a cycling injury claim

Our client, Hannah Moodie, was riding her bicycle and had stopped at a junction with the intention of going straight across what was a busy A road.

The junction was controlled by traffic lights, and when these turned green she proceeded across with the other traffic. Mid-way across the junction Hannah was hit by the wing mirror of a vehicle. The impact knocked her clean off her bike and she fell heavily on her right hand side.

She immediately appeared to have suffered soft tissue damage to the right side of her face and her right upper arm, sprains to the neck and right shoulder, soft tissue damage to her right hip and stiffness in her right jaw. She sustained some minor head injuries too despite the fact that she was wearing a helmet.

There could be no dispute about who was to blame for the accident and the insurers of the driver at fault, who simply hadn't noticed the bicycle, readily admitted liability. We then set about obtaining expert medical evidence to confirm the extent of Hannah's injuries and the fact that they had been caused solely by the accident.

The expert's medical opinion we obtained suggested that Hannah's symptoms should resolve within 18 months of so from the date of the accident but his report went on to recommend osteopathy treatment to aid Hannah's recovery. This recommendation was shared with the other side who agreed to fund that treatment.

Meanwhile, we had compiled a detailed schedule of Hannah's financial losses arising from her injuries and obtained an interim payment of £800 in respect of 'special damages (i.e. compensation for money she had to pay out on travel, prescription fees and the like). At the same time the other side made an offer of £6,000 compensation for the personal injury.

However, even though Hannah had completed the recommended osteopathy treatment, she was still experiencing painful symptoms and it was obvious that further treatment would be necessary. Because her symptoms had not yet resolved, we advised Hannah to reject the offer until we had a fuller prognosis and a better idea of how long her recovery might take.

Hannah comments:

'I suppose a lot of solicitors would have told me to take the £6,000 on offer and wrap thing up quickly and I must admit, I was tempted to do just that. Shoosmiths told me that my health was far more important and we should wait until a full prognosis was available. They pointed out that if I developed other problems that hadn't been immediately obvious, I couldn't re-open my claim and go back to ask for more.'

On our advice Hannah rejected the offer. Sure enough, when her treatments had finished and the projected 18 month recovery period had expired, her symptoms still persisted so further medical evidence was obtained from a consultant orthopaedic surgeon.

He confirmed that Hannah has also sustained an injury to the cervical spine and to her right sacroiliac joint as a result of the accident and recommended an MRI scan.

The expert also advised that Hannah would benefit from a steroid injection to the right sacroiliac joint.

Our expert recommended a further course of physiotherapy treatment to include acupuncture and deep massages, suggesting that all Hannah's symptoms would improve gradually and eventually settle within a further six to eight months.

We arranged for the further treatment to be paid for by the defendant and also organised an appointment with a pain specialist. Further MRI scans were also recommended by the pain specialist and we managed to get these funded by the defendant too.

In the meantime the other side put forward what's called a Part 36 Offer to settle the claim in the sum of £17,500. We had a lengthy discussion with Hannah, reminding her again about the risks of settling a claim whilst her symptoms persisted.

However, she was anxious to get closure and given that the supplementary scans and additional treatments suggested it was unlikely that any further problems would emerge, we felt confident we could make a counter offer that would cover all the funding she might require for her rehabilitation and recovery.

We proposed a sum of £20,000 plus the further fees required for outstanding MRI scans and physiotherapy treatment giving a total of £20,800, which was accepted by the defendant and paid in full.

Shoosmiths can help

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a cycling accident, our expert team can help. Contact us on 03700 868 686 to discuss your accident while we can also explain the process to you and answer any questions you may have.