Home
Mountain biker was hurt when ambulance carrying him braked suddenly and hit head

A man who was injured inside an ambulance that had picked him up from a cycling accident has been awarded 27,700 Euros by a court in Ireland as compensation.

Stephen Burns, 37, had lost consciousness when he fell head first onto a rock while mountain biking.
When he came to, he walked down the hill with his bike till he met a woman who called him an ambulance.

He told the Circuit Civil Court that although he was bleeding, with swelling over one eye, he felt no pain in his neck and back when the ambulance arrived.

According to the Herald Ireland, Mr Burns told Judge Alan Mahon that after an assessment by the paramedics, he was placed on a stretcher and his head supported by blocks.

He said he was not supplied with a neck collar and, on the way to St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, the ambulance had to perform an emergency brake to prevent a collision with another driver.

The court heard Mr Burns’s head hit a partition in the ambulance. He said there was "stuff all over the place in the back of the ambulance".

He said that one paramedic was knocked to the floor and one of his head blocks came loose. He said that he sufferent back and neck soft tissue injuries.

Mr Burns sued the HSE and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland for damages.

The HSE alleged Mr Burns was not wearing a cycling helmet when he hit the rock.

Judge Mahon said the violent stop had caused Mr Burns' injuries, and that he was satisfied the accident had not been caused by the ambulance driver.

We recently reported a different civil case in Northern Ireland, in which the High Court reduced the damages awarded to a cyclist involved in a collision with a car because the judge found that looking at his heart rate monitor amounted to contributory negligence.

The court awarded Conor McAllister over £50,000 in damages after finding that driver John Campbell was responsible for the injuries Mr McAllister sustained when he hit Mr Campbell’s car in November 2009.

But the damages would have been £70,000 if Mr McAllister had been looking where he was going.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

25 comments

Avatar
Shep73 [211 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Why did this not come of the car drivers insurance?

Avatar
Stumps [3460 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

whipcash strikes again  14

Sorry i forgot the Judge is better qualified to say his injuries were from the stop and not the cause of his earlier tumble  39

Avatar
northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Driverless ambulances now too...?

Avatar
Old Man Miller [11 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Typical for these days - blame everyone else - if he'd been wearing a helmet (surely a must for MTB action) he may never have been in the ambulance in the first place.

Avatar
allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The ambo crew assumed a duty of care for the guy from the point of conveying him in the vehicle, and presumably the paramedic(s) would have provided statements of their immediate diagnosis upon their initial assessment prior to the ambo moving. It could also be argued that the decision to not use a neck collar also suggests no complaints or signs of neck injury prior to the emergency stop.

I'd hazard a guess that the ambo had some form of datalogging system that could be downloaded in the event of an accident or event such as this. Police cars do, always downloaded after an injury polcol.

If I suffered injury and/or loss when in the care of a corporate body or authority then I would hope to get some form of reparation too.

Avatar
Bobbinogs [240 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

This kind of thing is just plain wrong. The mtb chap is just a money grabbing git who should be ashamed of himself. He sounds like the sort who see every accident as an opportunity...whilst everyone else picks up the soaring costs of insurance.

Avatar
Northernbike [229 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

''Typical for these days - blame everyone else - if he'd been wearing a helmet (surely a must for MTB action) he may never have been in the ambulance in the first place''

and he could have kept it on for the ambulance journey and got two 'helmet saved my life' stories on the same day

Avatar
gb901 [156 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Compo chasing parasite!

His injury - if there was one - was more likely caused by his helmet less MTB crash which sadly probably can't be proven?

Avatar
eurotrash [88 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

This is hardly a cycling story...

Avatar
allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Pure speculation in all the above posts including mine, unless you were there, involved in the case itself or had access to all the medical reports in the case if course.

Still, let's not stop that from slagging the dude off, despite a court finding in his favour.

Avatar
gb901 [156 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
allez neg wrote:

Pure speculation in all the above posts including mine, unless you were there, involved in the case itself or had access to all the medical reports in the case if course.

Still, let's not stop that from slagging the dude off, despite a court finding in his favour.

Just because another judge finds in some idiots favour and casually awards a large sum of money from the public purse is no high praise!

Avatar
allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Money grabbing git. Compo chasing parasite. Idiot.

I know that opinions are much like other things, in that everybody has one, but did I just get redirected to the Daily Mail's website?

Avatar
SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Come on people;
A judge does not make it up as they go along; they hear each sides argument and decide, in a civil case, which, on the balance of probabilities is most persuasive.
For the Motor Insurance Bureau to get involved the driver would not be insured. An ambulance driver would be, so I would assume that the driver who caused the ambulance driver to brake was considered to blame; so it would be them who was not insured. It says above the ambulance driver was not to blame. In law you can argue either that the chain of events are linked, and so the initial injury and any contributory negligence considered (helmet (=controversial!!!)). Or you can argue that a 'new act intervenes', so that the actions of the driver of the other vehicle has broken the chain of causation. In this case it would be irrelevant how the cyclist came to be 'in the back'. As far as the potential spinal injury is concerned in the UK the NEXUS rules are applied when risk assessing a patient http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearing_the_cervical_spine . Meaning that the riders risk of having neck/spinal injury should have been assessed before being put in the back of the ambulance. Who knows whether he was injured before he got in the ambulance or not? Evidence is presented and considered, on the balance of probabilities. It is not easy or even possible to secure a 'longboard' to a stretcher to prevent injury in a crash (as far as I know).
I hope this makes sense (I am on nights  37 ).

Avatar
nowasps [517 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm suing this webpage. My arm slipped off the desk while reading it, and I cracked my chin on the table.

Avatar
paulrbarnard [182 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Old Man Miller wrote:

Typical for these days - blame everyone else - if he'd been wearing a helmet (surely a must for MTB action) he may never have been in the ambulance in the first place.

Surely the point is he should have been wearing a helmet in the ambulance then he would not have sustained the second injury, the one that actually caused him harm.

Compulsory helmets in vehicles will have bigger overall benefit than helmets on cycles.

Avatar
ChairRDRF [351 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Nowasps - do you wear a helmet when reading this webpage?

Next stop: compulsory lids for ambulance patients...

Avatar
bfslxo [144 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Sorry but I think it's just morally wrong to sue a health service when they are carrying out a service for your OWN health, ok other measures should have been in place emergency stops happen all the time & in fairness the HSE should have taken better precaution but to sue them  17

You MTB'd without a helmet - really! seriously! & what.. you actually hit your head on a rock... & u actually knocked yourself out!! & you sue a health service!!

I don't care whether u do / don't wear a helmet bridgade on the road but off road  13 the whole object is to go downhill really really fast..

i've mtb'd for over 20 years, i've broke several bones - you fall off hard, your hands hit the ground (wrists) then your arms shoulders (collar bones) then head in the order almost everytime unless you do full face plant when guess what your head hits the ground first, at least 75% of mtb falls are over the bars..

the HSE come to help you & make sure your brain is still intact.. there's a bit of an incident on the way to hospital, your still good, you get up walk away they check you out you've no internal head bleeding etc & you sue them, i'm sorry that's just wrong!

Take some of your money & buy a helmet..

Avatar
del_boy13 [10 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

As someone else has already mentioned the cyclist was suing the HSE and the Motor Insurance Bureau. The HSE were exonerated as the ambulance driver was found not to be at fault. The driver of the car who caused the ambulance to stop suddenly was found to be at fault.

Because he was uninsured the Motor Insurance Bureau took responsibility for the insurance - (in Ireland all insurance companies contribute to this so that in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver there is still recourse for the victim of the accident).

For those of you carping about state paying, money grabbing git etc please re-read the full story instead of skimming it.

Avatar
md6 [181 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

For everyone going on about him not wearing a lid to mtb I would ask you one question. If he wasn't a cyclist and just fell on the road and hit his head, then you think him suing is ok? Personally, i don't think it matters in the slightest why he was in the ambo, the fact is that he was, and was injured whilst inside it. He sued (and my personal feelings on that aside) and it was found to be due to the actions of the other driver that he was injured, and was therefore awarded some compensation. I don't see what the comments about what he was doing beforehand have to do with the square root of f-all in this case.

Avatar
Stumps [3460 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I've seen to much of this to be honest, he has no one to blame for his own earlier injury and then this happens and no doubt someone whispers in his ear - COMPENSATION and he suddenly gets whiplash etc.

Its got bot all to do with wearing a helmet or not. Its long overdue for the govt to say you get a maximum of £100 for whiplash, it would soon stop all the bogus claims.

Avatar
SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Any chance this story can be clarified?
Did the rider sue the ambulance service or someone else?
If they sued the ambulance service why was the motor insurance bureau (mib) involved? Surely an uninsured ambulance is a far bigger and better story?
Why was the HSE involved? Who is the HSE? In the UK we have the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) who are a Government body with responsibility to promote health and safety; they would normally prosecute, or help to prosecute employers in health and safety issues  39 But this happened in southern Ireland  39 Why (if at all) were they being sued? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_and_Safety_Executive
This story makes no sense  102
I am still on nights  37 37 37 37

Avatar
stealth [254 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Whiplash? Whilst lying on a stretcher? Hmmm.
As a genuine victim in a car crash a few years ago it took several hours before I stopped getting fresh pains & then a few weeks before any lasting damage could be ascertained. It was then a few months before I was medically signed off as recovered (after having various treatments).
I would say that the judgement has been made on very grey territory....

Avatar
surly_by_name [497 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Wow. Let's try that again: "Uninsured driver causes injury to stricken MTB rider". Or "Failure to follow proceduress by ambulance crew puts MTB rider's health at risk". Cue consternation. Question for Road.cc - is it still trolling when you do it to yourself? Or was it all about page impressions.

If the injury occurred in the ambulance (and not before - and presumably the evidence indicates, on the balance or probabilities, that it did), then the reason he was in the ambulance is completely irrelevant. To argue otherwise is to add a moral condition to recovery (only "good" people get to recover), which isn't the point. This would be akin to justifying running a cyclist down by arguing said cyclist had (for example) run a red light several miles previous. Suggest all of those who have reverted pretty much instantly to "ambulance chasing parasite" should have a cup of tea and go back to the Mail.

There is always the potential that the MTBers insurers brought the action on his behalf. For example, MTBer may have had physio following the incident and, having paid out, MTBers insurers may have brought the action against the party responsible (who wasn't insured, hence MIB). Although "one insurer commences proceedings against another insurer in a entirely quotidian manner" doesn't garner as much outrage I guess.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1568 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I really don't have any strong opinions about people suing over such events. I think its hugely overblown as an issue. Probably in most cases it would look different if you knew every detail and even if not its minor (and random in who gains and loses) compared to all the systemic forms of waste and corruption that go on.

Is it wrong though that my first thought was of the Simpsons episode "Daredevil Bart", in which something rather similar happens to Homer (OK, in that case his trolley fell out of the back of the ambulance and straight down the canyon he'd just been fished out of). I don't recall if he sued anyone.

Avatar
SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

A quick bit of research reveals;
HSE = The Health Service Executive (NHS in the UK)
MIB = The Motor Insurance Bureau-Ireland or MIBI (https://www.mibi.ie/uninsured-unidentifi.html)
I am guessing that in Ireland (as in England & Wales) you can sue more than one person who may be to blame for an incident and leave it for the court to decide who pays what and in what proportion.
It would appear that the HSE successfully argued that they were not to blame (ambulance driver not to blame). However I am not sure whether the court considered that the fact that the rider was not secured to the stretcher was an issue? In my experience you cannot safely secure a longboard to a stretcher.
My guess is that the MIBI were involved to represent the 'unidentified' driver who caused the ambulance driver to brake.
So the story should read that 'Cyclist sues unidentified driver for 27K'
Presumably the 'helmet' part was the health service saying that if they were to blame then his damages should be reduced for 'contributory negligence' in not wearing a helmet when he came off his bike initially. But as his injuries were caused in the ambulance by the unidentified driver this is not an issue.
I am on 'lates' now.... but on leave soon  36