Insurer argues cyclist had gone through red light

Cycling Collision LocusGeorge Brett was involved in a cycling accident in October 2016 on Caird Street in Hamilton. He was on his way home from a training ride when a car, travelling in the opposite direction, failed to give way and pulled across his path.

George fell from his bicycle and sustained multiple soft tissue injures as well as a minor head injury. He also went on to develop a psychological injury as a consequence of the incident.

Given that George had right of way on Caird Street, it seemed on paper to be a straightforward road traffic collision. However, the insurers refused to admit liability and stated that the filter light had been on green for their driver to proceed through the junction. In order for this to have been the case, they argued that George’s traffic lights must have been at red and therefore he had been in the wrong. Consequently, they were unwilling to pay out any compensation.

The claim had to be raised in the All Scotland Personal Injury Court (ASPIC) and the defenders maintained their position throughout.

Although it was a relatively busy street, no witnesses had stopped and therefore it came down to George’s word against that of the driver. The driver’s friend had been travelling directly behind and provided a supportive statement to the defenders. On this basis, they were willing to run this case to a four-day hearing. In advance of that hearing, we met George at the junction and went through the light sequence in detail. It became clear at that site visit, that George’s lights could not possibly have been at red due to the sequence of traffic lights prior to the junction where the collision had occurred.

An expert had previously been instructed to take images of the location as well as video footage. Despite this being lodged in the court process, the defenders still maintained their position.

Following our own site visit, further discussions took place with the defenders looking into whether or not, on balance of probability, George could possibly have gone through a red light. In order for him to have done so, he would have had to have gone through three consecutive red lights. If this were the case, he would have been travelling at a high speed in order to enter the junction at all. A detailed record of the journey and the varying speeds recorded on George’s garmin device proved this was not the case.

Following lengthy negotiation with the defender's solicitor, settlement was agreed at the figure proposed by Cycle Law Scotland.

The case settled one week prior to the court hearing. Throughout the court process, multiple offers were made by the defenders but on a compromised basis. The final settlement offer was double that of the first offer made five months earlier.

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