£1,500 settlement for cyclist injured when seat clamp broke

Portsmouth rider was nearly hit by oncoming traffic in April 2011 crash

by Simon_MacMichael   July 30, 2014  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

A Portsmouth cyclist has won a £1,500 out-of-court settlement after the seat clamp of his bike broke as he cycled along a road, resulting in him falling into the path of oncoming vehicles, one of which narrowly avoided hitting him.

Matthew Buck, aged 41, was riding home from a shopping trip in April 2011 when the seat clamp broke, reports the Portsmouth News. He sustained a neck injury that resulted in 11 weeks of recovery and a month of physiotherapy, and also suffered cuts and bruises.

The psychological effects of the crash included flashbacks of the incident and led to him suffering from insomnia for five weeks.

A spokesman for his solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, said: “The fault caused Matthew to lose balance and fall whilst still on his bike, trapping his left leg and exposing him to oncoming traffic in the middle of the road with one car missing his head by only two to three feet.”

Both retailer Cycle World Essex and distributor Fisher Outdoor Leisure denied liability but agreed to make the £1,500 out-of-court settlement.

Irwin Mitchell personal injury lawyer Stephanie Whatmore said: “Mr Buck experienced a variety of problems following the accident, which could have been much worse if a car had hit him whilst he was in the road. We are pleased that he has now received justice for an accident that could have been prevented.

“The country is seeing an increase in the number of cyclists on the road but they can be very vulnerable road users. This case highlights the importance of ensuring that the parts of a bicycle are correctly fitted and maintained to prevent any similar accidents in future.”

Mr Buck added: “I am very relieved that the case has come to a close. For two weeks following the accident I was unable to wash my clothes, go shopping, drive or socialise. I was in so much pain and felt angry that the accident had happened but lucky that it had not been worse.

“I don’t want anyone else to have to experience what I did and I hope that those involved take the steps necessary to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Portsmouth News added that a spokesman for Fisher Outdoor Leisure had declined to provide a comment.

21 user comments

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“I don’t want anyone else to have to experience what I did and I hope that those involved take the steps necessary to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Maybe I'm both cynical and naive, but I can't fully square this with being pleased that the case ended with a cash payout but zero liability. If the aim is genuinely to prevent some perceived problem - whatever that was - being repeated, surely it's the liability that's the important bit?

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [433 posts]
30th July 2014 - 11:41

67 Likes

Nice to see the good old 'compensation culture' is still alive and well.

Surely, if he'd really suffered as much as he claims to have done, then he surely wouldn't have settled for so little out-of-court? I'd call that amount "go-away money".

In instances like these the insurers often prefer to settle early as it costs them a lot less. In a factory where I worked an employee slightly injured himself trying to climb between some conveyors (to go for a fag-break) rather than walk 20 yards around them. The union backed his claim for £900 and our insurers accepted it and settled. In their view the employee had a weak case and they'd have won if it had gone to court ... but it would have cost them £5K to do so.

posted by Joeinpoole [308 posts]
30th July 2014 - 11:54

45 Likes

Bez wrote:
Maybe I'm both cynical and naive, but I can't fully square this with being pleased that the case ended with a cash payout but zero liability.

You see the same thing with negligence cases with hospitals and the police. They will pay out on proviso of accepting no liability so it doesnt open them up to future cases, and those that do match it are fought on an individual basis rather than emerging 'trends'.

The £1.5k is sort of a 'now go away' payment rather than spend in excess of multiples of that defending it.

"Here's a sticky plaster but its not my fault you fell!"

Makes me think of that monologue in Fight Club about the cost of payouts against the cost of vehicle recalls. Culture of blame/denial rather than resolution/innovation.

It would be interesting to know what the point of failure was: the manufacturing process of the part, its fitting and/or adjustment from the shop.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [604 posts]
30th July 2014 - 12:06

57 Likes

"This case highlights the importance of ensuring that the parts of a bicycle are correctly fitted and maintained to prevent any similar accidents in future.”

But, on my reading, it was correctly fitted. It broke. That might be because of incorrect fitting but that would be better described as a defective part.

As to maintenance, that is the responsibility of the owner.

Poor reasons from the lawyer.

posted by bendertherobot [382 posts]
30th July 2014 - 12:13

41 Likes

£1,500 sounds like a pretty derisory amount in "compo" terms. His case must have been pretty poor if Irwin Mitchell advised him to settle for that, though I expect the payout was double once their fee was included. Not sure this is really a cycling story, more likely one of how the underclasses supplement their benefits claims.

posted by enigmaman [16 posts]
30th July 2014 - 13:03

44 Likes

That would be Cycle World Wessex.

posted by sponican [70 posts]
30th July 2014 - 15:19

26 Likes

A £1500 payout is nothing compared to the trouble he'll have with insurance from now on.

posted by DrJDog [182 posts]
30th July 2014 - 15:28

27 Likes

'...with one car missing his head by only two to three feet.”

I don't remember the last time I had two to three feet of space when being passed by a car!

posted by mask of san1ty [1 posts]
30th July 2014 - 15:50

30 Likes

enigmaman wrote:
£1,500 sounds like a pretty derisory amount in "compo" terms. His case must have been pretty poor if Irwin Mitchell advised him to settle for that, though I expect the payout was double once their fee was included. Not sure this is really a cycling story, more likely one of how the underclasses supplement their benefits claims.

With the article making reference to an "out of court settlement" I would think they must have issued proceedings in which case the Irwin Mitchell will have been in line for about 10 times the pay out in cost, but them would have submitted a bill for something like £30k in costs. Irwin Mitchell have something a reputation for these types of cases.

Housecathst's picture

posted by Housecathst [96 posts]
30th July 2014 - 16:28

28 Likes

I have to say that I'm surprised liability seemed to rest with the retailer and distributor. Surely the fault is with the manufacturer of the faulty equipment?

posted by Gordy748 [98 posts]
30th July 2014 - 18:22

33 Likes

enigmaman wrote:
Not sure this is really a cycling story, more likely one of how the underclasses supplement their benefits claims.
Not sure this is really a cycling comment, more one of how the enigma man expresses his tabloid idiot prejudice.

I hope you are enjoying your £3000 bike but please put a cork in it re "underclasses" and benefit claims. Bit distasteful really, sorry.

posted by vbvb [304 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:24

36 Likes

So it's underclasses on benefits eh?

posted by climber [29 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:38

29 Likes

Gordy748 wrote:
I have to say that I'm surprised liability seemed to rest with the retailer and distributor. Surely the fault is with the manufacturer of the faulty equipment?

Contract is with retailer, that's where liability lies. Retailer has contract with supplier....etc etc.
As far as the end customer is concerned its nothing to do with manufacturer.

posted by climber [29 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:42

18 Likes

vbvb wrote:
enigmaman wrote:
tabloid idiot prejudice .

I resent that. How many tabloid readers do you know who ride a £3,500 bike? I'm more of a Telegraph man, myself. And every penny spent on that bike was earned by me, not thanks to the efforts of ambulance chasing parasites.

posted by enigmaman [16 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:51

39 Likes

Gordy748 wrote:
I have to say that I'm surprised liability seemed to rest with the retailer and distributor. Surely the fault is with the manufacturer of the faulty equipment?
The factory would only be sued in country they trade in. Retailer supplies the item as fit for purpose, so their involvement is clear. Fisher may be responsible for the part's design or manufacture, with some of their stock being "in-house", or are responsible as the supplier, I suppose.

posted by vbvb [304 posts]
30th July 2014 - 19:51

26 Likes

enigmaman wrote:
every penny spent on that bike was earned by me.. Telegraph.. parasites ...underclasses... benefit claims
Sorry, no offence, but I'm really not interested in anything that's not related to cycling here.

posted by vbvb [304 posts]
30th July 2014 - 20:17

26 Likes

£1,500 does seem an awfully low figure to accept in settlement if he did suffer the things the article states. Something doesn't add up.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [495 posts]
30th July 2014 - 22:09

24 Likes

enigmaman wrote:
Not sure this is really a cycling story, more likely one of how the underclasses supplement their benefits claims.

Oh for the days when this site attracted intelligent posts, not crap based on bullshit assumptions and prejudices.

Otis Bragg's picture

posted by Otis Bragg [131 posts]
30th July 2014 - 22:40

25 Likes

Four years in motor claims and letters from Irwin Mitchell (and other firms in the same line of business).

I have no comment to make. No comment whatsoever. Not even a squeak of a syllable. Nope.

posted by Argos74 [301 posts]
30th July 2014 - 23:56

18 Likes

Otis Bragg wrote:
enigmaman wrote:
Not sure this is really a cycling story, more likely one of how the underclasses supplement their benefits claims.

Oh for the days when this site attracted intelligent posts, not crap based on bullshit assumptions and prejudices.

... said the self-professed "socialist". No hint of bullshit presumptions and prejudices there then ... except when they happen to be Tories, bankers or any wealthy individuals ... no matter how many jobs they have created and £M's of tax they have paid.

Looking forward to 'Otis Bragg' writing an intelligent post on-topic rather than mystical crap based on his own bullshit prejudices.

posted by Joeinpoole [308 posts]
31st July 2014 - 1:26

15 Likes

Seriously hope the arm chair lawyers on here have nothing to do with the legal profession; personal injury (resulting from negligence) law is largely based on the law of tort, not contract. Go look up the snail in the ginger beer bottle case.

posted by The-North [1 posts]
31st July 2014 - 5:28

34 Likes