Cyclist dragged under HGV receives substantial damages

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Cyclist dragged under HGV receives substantial damages

12th October 2011

A woman who was left with a horrific leg injury when she was knocked from her bicycle by an articulated lorry has received more than £500,000 in an out of court settlement.

The married woman suffered a ‘de-gloving’ injury - where the skin is literally torn away from the flesh - to the entirety of her leg from her hip to her ankle, as well as suffering a fractured knee as a result of the incident.

Polly Herbert, a serious injury specialist with Fentons Solicitors, said that the cyclist had been waiting at a traffic light-controlled, city centre junction alongside the Defendant’s heavy goods vehicle, in the middle of the afternoon in early 2008.

“The victim had deliberately stayed to the left of the lorry for safety,” said Polly, a partner with the firm. “The HGV was already stationary when she arrived at the junction, and she feared that if she rode into the cycle box ahead of the lorry and the lights were to change, the driver may not see her”.

When the lights did change, both the cyclist and the HGV pulled away. “The client believed the lorry was going straight on and did not see any indication otherwise,” said Polly. “But the vehicle turned left. It struck her bicycle and knocked her off, dragging her under the front wheels where she lay trapped until she was freed by emergency services.

“My client remembers being stuck under the lorry, screaming for help,” said Polly. “She can remember hearing a young girl screaming, and a lady actually climbed under the lorry to speak to her to help calm her down. She told her an ambulance was on its way.”

The injured woman required multiple operations to save her left leg, and has undergone several painful skin grafts over the last three-and-a-half years.

“She has been left with permanent mobility issues, but despite these and to her great credit she has managed to return to her pre-accident occupation as a nurse, albeit working reduced hours,” said Polly.

She said that although the woman was adamant the HGV never indicated to turn left, the Defendant had insisted that they had been indicating. “An independent witness initially agreed that the HGV was indicating, and so the driver never faced any police action,” said Polly. “However as we began our civil proceedings, the witness was unable to state with any certainty that the lorry had in fact been indicating.  We then obtained further evidence establishing that two of the indicators along the side of the lorry were faulty and not lighting up.”

The Defendant insurers initially denied liability, but admitted primary liability when investigations uncovered the additional evidence. The case was settled in the gross amount of £550,000, less the interim payments Polly secured for the client over the course of the proceedings - which were imperative to provide rehabilitation and help her return to work.

“This was a very serious injury and whilst my client was lucky to escape with her life, she will forever have to live with the injuries she sustained that day,” said Polly. “Now that the case has settled, I hope that she and her husband can begin to move on with their lives and that the damages recovered will enable her to live as full and independent a life as possible.”

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for individuals who sustain serious injuries in road traffic accidents.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire