£1.5 million Compensation for Motorcyclist with Spinal Cord Injury

Author:
Matthew Clayton
Partner, Serious Injury Solicitor
Date:
24/03/2021

Biker uses some of his settlement to buy a Trike so he can continue to ride

We helped a biker claim compensation after he was hit by a car and sustained a spinal cord injury.

Mr E, a motorcycle enthusiast and a keen member of a biker group, was riding his motorbike on his way to work and filtering between congested traffic when the accident happened.

As he approached a roundabout, a car suddenly pulled out and he couldn’t do anything to avoid hitting the back of the vehicle.

Mr E suffered a serious spinal cord injury, which caused total paralysis from the waist down. He was treated at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and then returned to live in his previous home, which was no longer suitable for him now he was using a wheelchair.

Mr E contacted our expert Personal Injury Solicitors for a free claims assessment, and I agreed to help him claim compensation on a No Win, No Fee basis, so he could access the specialist care and support he needed.

How We Helped

I approached the driver’s insurance company with details of our claim, and they refused to admit they were fully responsible for the accident.

Despite this, we successfully applied for interim payments, which allowed us to set up a case management package of support, therapies and treatment for Mr E.

However, he’d been very difficult to engage with on these issues, preferring instead to rely on his biker friends for help.

Mr E was an amazingly stoical and brave person who refused to give up his pre-accident lifestyle of being a biker and continued to attend “meets” of his biker organisation both nationally and internationally.

His friends in the biker fraternity took turns to help him and even helped to build a Trike for him, which was a three-wheel version of his motorcycle so he could continue to attend.

Although his attitude was laudable, it wasn’t helpful for the case, as we had to point out to him, backed up by medical evidence, that this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable in the longer term.

This was partly because he’d also injured his shoulder in the accident, and since he’d refused to agree to support at home, he would damage the shoulder further trying to hoist himself to and from his chair. He’d also refused to consider using a powered wheelchair.

This led to issues surrounding how he would cope as he got older given his condition, and we obtained expert evidence on the need for occupational therapy and support, suitable aids, appliances and equipment and suitably adapted accommodation.

I called experts in reconstruction to look at the circumstances and a liability trial was arranged to help establish who was at fault.

A Judge ruled that while the accident was partly the fault of the driver, as he hadn’t checked before pulling out, Mr E was equally to blame as he’d been riding too fast (40mph) given the road conditions at the time and the fact that he was filtering through traffic.

The Outcome

The driver’s insurance company was impressed by Mr E, both in how he gave evidence at the Trial and his attitude to life.

He was offered £1.5 million in compensation within two weeks of the decision that both parties were 50% responsible for the accident.

The offer was accepted and at the time of settlement, Mr E was still living his lifestyle as a biker and had decided to use £35,000 of the settlement on a brand new Trike to continue his hobby and life.

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