Six-figure compensation after a three year battle for cyclist thrown from bike by left turning lorry

Compensation payout and city move means it's back on the bike for cyclist with life-changing injuries from lorry collision

by Sarah Barth   August 16, 2014  

Kirby Stebbing

A woman who was left with life-changing injuries after a lorry pulled left into her in 2010 has won compensation following a long legal battle with the driver’s employer.

Kirby Stebbing, 27, was cycling along Balls Pond Road in Hackney when the HGV cut across her route, causing her to collide with the cab of the lorry. The impact threw her from her bike and dragged her under the wheels.

The incident left her with multiple injuries including a fractured pelvis and ankle, a dislocated shoulder and injuries to both legs. Her left leg required extensive skin grafts.

Ms Stebbing was left with post-traumatic stress disorder and her injuries continue to affect her today.
A three and a half year legal battle has finally seen her awarded a six-figure payout to cover her ongoing care and future loss of earnings.

The driver, Dean Simmons, pleaded guilty to careless driving. Insurers for his firm, Dunlea’s Enterprise, eventually accepted two-thirds liability.

“I was going across crossroads and [the lorry] came up from behind me and just started turning left across my path,” she told the Evening Standard. “I saw it and quickly turned but it all happened so quickly and I was dragged underneath.”

Ms Stebbing and her partner have now moved to Nottingham to escape the memories of the crash, and she has even felt able to start riding her bike again.

Penny Knight, head of the cycling team at Leigh Day solicitors, who represented Ms Stebbing, said: “Our client was not riding recklessly, she had the right of way and was simply trying to cycle on the road when this lorry has cut directly across her path leaving her with horrific injuries.

“Thankfully she is now recovering from these injuries although the mental scars often take the longest time to heal.”

Ms Stebbing said: “Nothing can prepare you for the devastation a major incident like this has on your life.

“On top of constant pain and coming to terms with severe physical scarring, it is the effects of post traumatic stress syndrome and the process of rebuilding my life and confidence which I have been working so very hard to overcome each day.

“However, thanks to support from so many people and my own determination I have got back on my bike. It will be a slow process but I hope to continue to ride, regain confidence and enjoy cycling once again.”

21 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Well done to her for getting back on the bike!

I dont understand the part about the company accepting only 2/3 liability. If the driver hadnt acted as he did, the collision would never have occurred.

Another reason to fight for presumed liability.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [513 posts]
16th August 2014 - 11:54

54 Likes

curious about the 2/3 liability, if she was doing nothing wrong? Or is simply any reasonably large payout is better than fighting for ever?

This is the sort of thing the mainstream media should present, dangerous driving is not acceptable!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1096 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:03

56 Likes

Is it possible some of the liability was instead attributed to road design or the council?

More info on that would be nice

posted by mad_scot_rider [548 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:19

38 Likes

Is it that it was just the company/their insurers accepting two thirds, meaning the remaining third lies with the driver himself?

IANAL but presumably we're talking about liability for creating and maintaining the conditions (i.e. lack of driver training, poor cab design, vehicle maintenance etc.) which allowed the incident to happen, rather than blame for the incident itself?

seven's picture

posted by seven [112 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:23

20 Likes

it's the default insurance companies policy to try and get 2/3 rds. Basically saying it was also the cyclists fault for the other 1/3 so that they don't get stung for a bigger amount which she would of been entitled to . Which we all know is BS. I personally wouldn't of accepted it. But when a case is ever going and you want to just get on with your life then as a victim you tend to just go with it.

posted by toothache90 [33 posts]
16th August 2014 - 12:36

27 Likes

toothache90 wrote:
I personally wouldn't of accepted it... as a victim you tend to just go with it.
Grand talk. I think she probably made a careful, considered choice with all the facts and the benefit of legal advice.

posted by vbvb [240 posts]
16th August 2014 - 13:25

29 Likes

It's very easy to say you wouldn't have accepted it - but sometimes the ongoing legal shitfight is almost as bad (sometimes worse) as the actual incident itself. Having experienced two years of legal fighting as of next Friday in relation to my wife's RTC, I can understand why this lady is willing to accept that monetary agreement.

Very often psychological scars such as PTSD recover quicker after the settlement as it is a massive load of stress removed in one fell swoop.

charlie bravo's picture

posted by charlie bravo [51 posts]
16th August 2014 - 13:36

30 Likes

Give that the driver was done for careless driving I'm amazed that the motor insurers could get away with 1/3 contrib against the victim. This scum bag insurance company would have used all the delaying tactics that could get away with until the victim accepted there offer to settled "early" rather be in litigation for years.

The victims solicitor would not have had a problem with her accepting an early settled at 1/3 liability as they would still get there full fees, depending on how much they have been taking the piss with the billing.

This sh!t really makes me angery.

Housecathst's picture

posted by Housecathst [57 posts]
16th August 2014 - 15:08

26 Likes

What bothers me is that the compensation covers lost income and medical costs but the psychological damage is not compensated, in the US the damages for that could easily be a 1,000 times more.

posted by kie7077 [468 posts]
16th August 2014 - 15:42

23 Likes

A huge chapeau to Ms Stebbing. Takes a lot of bravery and character to come back from that. Wishing her all the best in her recovery, and maybe just maybe, a return to the saddle.

posted by Argos74 [292 posts]
16th August 2014 - 17:14

21 Likes

A friend of mine was hit, left unconscious and had to be airlifted to hospital, he was left with serious head injury's which he will never fully recover from, the driver was found and convicted, 100% their fault, it still took over 5 years to get a payout, the insurance industry is disgusting.

posted by mikeprytherch [217 posts]
16th August 2014 - 17:33

25 Likes

Insurance companies need a major overall; and stiffer regulations on the cover they provide! Too many loop-holes in all insurance policies.

posted by Mostyn [407 posts]
16th August 2014 - 17:57

12 Likes

Insurance companies are like governments, they're all scheming and duplicitous; you can never trust a word they say; they'll back down from any promise if they can; and some are worse than others. And try to come up with a better solution that has a chance of working.

That's not to say that the industry shouldn't be overhauled. But in most cases the people who really end up paying are the customers, many of whom will never/hardly make a claim in their lives. Ooooh, that's another similarity that they have with governments!

posted by truffy [299 posts]
16th August 2014 - 19:27

12 Likes

Awful. I guess she is glad just to be alive after being run over by this c**t of a truck driver.

If 2/3 liability was accepted by the truck insurer's who picked up the other 1/3? If it were me, which it is right now, I would have only accepted them admitting 100% liability. The c**t who knocked me down fortunately admitted doing so, who was sent on a driver awareness course by plod. His insurer has not disputed liability so I get 100% of any damages that will hopefully soon be awarded. But it does take a long time not totally because of insurers and lawyers although they do drag things out, but also because injuries can take a long time to heal and if you have any remaining symptoms - physical or psychological, then these have to be addressed and valued for the purposes of any claim. Prognosis can sometimes mean a life time of continued suffering and after care and reduced earnings, etc.

I hope she is doing well now though Nottingham is not exactly the safest place to ride!

Airzound

posted by Airzound [302 posts]
17th August 2014 - 8:42

5 Likes

This is precisely why we need Strict Liability, as exists in most countries in Europe, so that victims of careless driving don't need to spend 3 years (or more) fighting for compensation. However, our political lords and masters, would rather look to Romania as a shining beacon of motoring liberty!

posted by Kim [131 posts]
17th August 2014 - 12:05

11 Likes

Kim wrote:
This is precisely why we need Strict Liability, as exists in most countries in Europe, so that victims of careless driving don't need to spend 3 years (or more) fighting for compensation. However, our political lords and masters, would rather look to Romania as a shining beacon of motoring liberty!

Errr ……. I think you mean a Presumption of Liability NOT Strict Liability. I suspect you don't understand the legal concept of Strict Liability.

Lay people have such a poor understanding of legal concepts. As for the rest of your rant, no.

The other reason claims can take such a long time, as I wrote above, is that injuries often take a long time to heal and often those injured have to under go operations as part of the recovery process which need to be undertaken and then further time afterwards to heal to establish a reliable prognosis whether symptoms are permanent or further treatment is needed. This cannot happen in 3 weeks.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [302 posts]
17th August 2014 - 16:54

1 Like

Thanks for posting this story.
Wishing Ms Stebbing all the best; she sounds very brave and resilient. Applause

posted by Viro Indovina [79 posts]
17th August 2014 - 17:38

2 Likes

what amazes me is that he gets off with careless driving when he clearly saw her and tried to cut across her path. What did he think was going to happen?? Angry Agree that she deserves all the support she can get, and Insurance cos should be forced to the table quicker in these cases.

Bigcog's picture

posted by Bigcog [18 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:35

8 Likes

Another thing that often doesn't get reported is that in cases where there are significant injuries requiring on-going care, insurance companies will often make interim payments to pay for that care while the case is progressing. As mentioned by others above, you can't have a final compensation figure until the final costs are known, which can drag things out. But that doesn't mean the victim has had nothing in the mean time.

posted by faceplant [8 posts]
18th August 2014 - 10:46

4 Likes

Bravo to her bravery. But there are some roads to avoid in Nottinghamshire (especially Nottingham city). There are a good lot of quiet roads too and some decent NCN routes. I hope she finds these and enjoys safe cycling from now on.

posted by BikeJon [43 posts]
18th August 2014 - 14:57

0 Likes

Airzound wrote:
Kim wrote:
This is precisely why we need Strict Liability, as exists in most countries in Europe, so that victims of careless driving don't need to spend 3 years (or more) fighting for compensation. However, our political lords and masters, would rather look to Romania as a shining beacon of motoring liberty!

Errr ……. I think you mean a Presumption of Liability NOT Strict Liability. I suspect you don't understand the legal concept of Strict Liability.

Lay people have such a poor understanding of legal concepts. As for the rest of your rant, no.

The other reason claims can take such a long time, as I wrote above, is that injuries often take a long time to heal and often those injured have to under go operations as part of the recovery process which need to be undertaken and then further time afterwards to heal to establish a reliable prognosis whether symptoms are permanent or further treatment is needed. This cannot happen in 3 weeks.

Take it easy Airzound, I might me a lay person uninitiated in the mystic arts of legal sleight of hand, but I understood what was meant.

Laws change as times change. They are man made and fallible. In fact, you know how it goes, the greater the legal magician, the greater your chance to win.

The overwhelming reaction is disgust at companies that try to get out of their responsibility/liability. The ordinary man dislikes this behavior.

Banking, Insurance and Law. Perhaps the three civilian professions the devil himself would be most proud of Devil

posted by ronin [138 posts]
18th August 2014 - 23:54

1 Like