Andrea, a keen triathlete, was involved in a life changing cycling incident in April 2015. She was cycling with her partner, Alan in Shetland. She was wearing high visibility clothing and had front and back lights fitted to her bicycle. As she was cycling along, a van suddenly pulled out from a side street and t-boned her. Andrea was thrown from her bicycle and landed directly on the road sustaining serious injuries.
As a result of the collision, Andrea sustained a brain injury, dental injuries, facial injuries and soft tissue injuries to her hands, shoulder, knees and feet. She was taken by ambulance to Gilbert Bain Hospital where she underwent a thorough examination and remained an inpatient for two nights.
Andrea contacted Cycle Law Scotland to represent her in a claim for damages against the driver’s insurance company. After receiving her call, one of our specialist solicitors flew to Shetland to meet with her in person. We arranged for her to receive rehabilitation treatment funded by the driver’s insurance company in the way of private physiotherapy and psychological treatment.
The Injuries and their impact
The brain injury Andrea sustained affected her memory and decision-making abilities. She had trouble balancing and moving, and endured headaches for some time. We were able to recognise Andrea’s ongoing symptoms and put in place the best medical experts in their fields to provide medical reports in respect of her injuries. We instructed a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Consultant Neurologist, Consultant Neuropsychologist and appointed an independent rehabilitation case manager to help with her recovery.
Despite the support from the case manager, it was clear Andrea’s injuries were so severe that a return to her pre-accident level of functioning would never be possible. Andrea tried to return to her job as a nurse but due to her brain injury this proved impossible and so her employers agreed that the only option was to retire her on grounds of ill health.
The third-party insurer appointed their own solicitors at an early stage and initially an offer was made in settlement. This offer was premature and our advice to Andrea was to hold firm.
Proceedings were raised in Court. We instructed an Employment Expert to consider her potential opportunities on the open labour market and, at the same time, instructed an Actuary to address her pension loss.
With all investigations complete, we sent a valuation to the defenders, but this resulted in a low offer and less that the pre-litigation offer, placing Andrea under pressure. Once again, our advice was to hold firm. Medical reports were updated and again we valued the claim. Our view was that a sensible offer would be at least 45% more than the defenders were willing to go to.
The court case continued on according to the time table. A pre-trial meeting between all parties was held 6 weeks before the date of the final court hearing. At that meeting, the defenders increased their offer significantly to almost double what had been previously offered. The offer was accepted and the case finalised
Pre-accident, Andrea had been an extremely active individual who had competed in triathlons and enjoyed many foreign cycling holidays. She was an accomplished nurse holding down a demanding job in Shetland. In a split second, her life was turned upside down. She was forced to abandon her sporting activities and she lost her job. She had to learn how to cope with the lasting effects of her injuries.
It was a long slow recovery for her. Throughout the process we stood by Andrea and, with firm resolve, achieved the right result refusing to bow to any pressure and holding firm at all times.
Andrea was overjoyed with the outcome. Although the compensation was significant, she will never truly recover from what happened to her. However, the compensation award has given her choices and the ability to have a comfortable retirement free of financial constraints allowing her to concentrate on slowly rebuilding her life.
At CLS we thoroughly investigate all of our cases recognising each client is quite unique and no two injuries are the same. We will support injured cyclists through the dark days of their recovery.
We will stand up for them and fight their corner until we achieve the result that gives them their future back.
In Andrea’s case, our medical experts and our expertise made the difference. Listening carefully to clients and understanding their life pre-accident, allows us to build a case and get the right result.