Cyclist counts collision costs

Last year, a District Judge sitting in London considered the old chestnut of who to blame for accidents.

By way of background, the Claimant was crossing a street near London Bridge at rush hour in July 2015 when she was struck by the Defendant cyclist. Both were knocked unconscious. The Claimant sued the Defendant for damages. 

At trial, the Claimant did not give evidence – having suffered amnesia as a result of the accident. The Defendant gave evidence that the traffic lights were green in his favour and that the Claimant was on her mobile phone. This account was accepted by the Court. A third-party cyclist gave evidence that the Defendant had sounded his air horn before accelerating towards the crossing.

In apportioning the blame on a 50/50 basis, the District Judge found that, although the Defendant had right of way, in accelerating he did not exercise reasonable care and skill.  

The story does not, however, end here. For whatever reason, the Defendant did not counter-claim against the Claimant. He recently gave his side of the story in a Twitter thread which was picked by The Guardian.

Damages for the Claimant were assessed at £8,600 – with the Defendant being required to meet half of that sum. The issue of legal costs was much more significant. As the Defendant has not counter-claimed, he was not entitled to his share of the costs. Instead, he was stuck with the costs of the Claimant was well as his own.

An appeal on Go Fund Me raised almost £60k towards his cause, leaving the Defendant to meet the shortfall of around £3k.

This case makes a strong argument for cyclists to be required to carry insurance. It makes an equally strong argument for such provisions to be extended to pedestrians! Whether the actions of the parties, in this case, might have placed them beyond the terms of such cover may be a question for another day…

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Brushett v. Hazeldean (2019)

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