In June 2019, Fiona who is a confident, experienced cyclist and has achieved podium placings at a number of sportives, was cycling a short distance home from work on the A87 near Kyle in the North West of Scotland. She was travelling around 20mph on a straight and open road in clear visibility and dry conditions when suddenly a car drove directly into her from behind.
The A87 is a national speed limit road and it is believed that the third-party vehicle was travelling in excess of 50mph. Fiona was wearing hi-viz arms, her bright club short sleeve jersey and had a rear flashing red light. She was positioned about 1 metre into the carriageway.
On impact, Fiona landed on the windscreen and was then thrown onto the road when the car braked. As she was clipped into her pedals, her bike came with her onto the car bonnet before being flung back down onto the road landing on its handlebars. Fiona’s left foot came out of her shoe, leaving it still in the cleat on the bike.
Astonishingly, but thankfully, Fiona managed to walk away from the incident without any serious fractures. However, she did sustain extensive ligament damage to her left shoulder, she broke her big toe, had deep cuts requiring stitches and was generally battered and bruised all over. There was significant damage to both her bicycle and helmet.
Fiona contacted Cycle Law Scotland in order to pursue a claim against the driver’s motor insurer. She knew she would require extensive physiotherapy to assist her with her recovery back to full fitness and she was also looking to be compensated for the damage to her bicycle and kit.
A claim was intimated to the insurers and liability was admitted early on. The insurers made an early offer of £2500 plus private physiotherapy to settle matters within one month of the collision.
However, given the extent of Fiona’s injuries, this proposal was premature and was rejected.
Fiona used her bike regularly and she was keen to be able to return to cycling. Therefore, we pushed for an early interim payment and secured it within two months of the collision.
When it came to settlement negotiations, the insurers were unwilling to compensate Fiona for a replacement helmet. An image showing the extent of the damage was sent to them, but they insisted upon the original receipt. Given the extent of the collision, we were unwilling to resolve matters without Ms Grant being fully compensated for her damaged items. As a consequence of the insurer’s position, we proceeded to raise a Court Action.
A protective helmet is a protective piece of equipment which must be replaced following an incident if there is any chance that it may have been compromised to any degree from the impact. The images of Fiona’s helmet clearly showed a crack.
Once the matter had been raised, it was very quickly passed over to the insurer’s solicitors to deal with matters on their behalf. A few days later, a reasonable proposal was made, to include the damaged helmet, and the case was resolved.
Whilst the wearing of a helmet is of course not compulsory, those who choose to wear a helmet should always be compensated in full if the helmet has been damaged at all in the road traffic collision. It would never be appropriate to purchase a second hand helmet on the basis that an insurance company was unwilling to compensate in full.