The Cycling Accident Circumstances
Tina is a keen road cyclist and had been out for a training ride with her partner on 19 May 2018. She was cycling along the B6372 from Temple to Gladstone. Whilst navigating a long stretch of particularly poor road surface, her front wheel fell into a deep pothole causing her to be thrown from her bicycle and sustain a painful shoulder injury. She was taken by ambulance to hospital and her Canyon Aero Road was written off.
The Insurers Position
Tina reported her accident and injuries to the council who passed her on to their insurers. They told her that they had taken all reasonable steps to inspect and repair the road. Unsure what to do next, Tina contacted Cycle Law Scotland for advice. We were able to take on her case and immediately set to work investigating. We submitted a Freedom of Information request to Midlothian Council and intimated a claim for Tina’s injuries and damaged items.
The Insurers denied responsibility for the incident on the basis that they had inspected the road on 23 April 2018 and all necessary repairs were carried out on 8 May 2018. The Insurers for the Council stated that when the road was inspected again on 30 May, it was found to be in good repair ‘with no obvious defects’.
Inspecting the Council records
We were able to inspect the full records, carry out a site inspection together with piecing together a time line from when photographs were taken to prove that the defect was actually not repaired until 28 May 2018 and that the records held by the Council contractors were either wrong or fabricated.
Once this inaccuracy was exposed, liability was quickly admitted by the Insurers and we were able to negotiate a settlement that Tina was happy with.
Tina was delighted with the outcome saying:
“Without a proper legal mind and perseverance it would have been really difficult for anyone to have found a way through the vagueness of the evidence the council will throw at you and that's why I think you should make sure you pick a law firm that will dedicate resources to your case.
Most firms will not have a lawyer go and visit your accident site. They will not spend hours brainstorming possibilities for the meanings in workers' notes. My case would have dragged on and fizzled out from what I can tell from reading other people's experiences on using larger chain PI law firms. A lot of cases likely seem simple initially but complications can be intentionally inserted from other parties and that's what happened to me - a huge curveball was thrown to derail the claim.
After the council's hand was forced, then the next battle started for damages. The insurance company really will try to lowball you on everything you're claiming for. In my case, they tried to pretend my bike wasn't worth what we were claiming even though the receipt was provided, independent inspection carried out etc. They are shameless.
I'm happy to say now that it's all over and Mrs Boynton has all my thanks. Hopefully, more riders go to her or her firm and think twice perhaps about going to firms that take cases en masse and just fire out the paperwork and hope a few score. There's no way my case would have succeeded without proper investigative nous and work ethic.
This comment might seem long but it's actually really short on the details. Just trust that a successful claim needs proper ground work, not just paper-filing. They really don't miss a trick over there at Cycle Law. Feels nice that they actually ride too, commute, race, triathlons etc, helps when you start talking about kit and how much riding means to you. And friendly, so yes, recommended. Hopefully, I won't need to go back again but I'm glad they're around.”