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Cyclist sues driver who left him with brain injury after crash on roundabout

Insurers for Jack Harris have admitted liability but are unable to agree compensation with victim Philip Smnith, who is seeking £200,000

A Dorset cyclist who was left with brain injuries when a motorist hit him on a roundabout is suing the driver for £200,000.

Insurers for Jack Harris, from Weymouth, admitted liability in August 2019 for the crash on the town’s Chafeys roundabout in January that year, reports the Dorset Echo.

However, they have been unable to agree damages with cyclist Philip Smith, also from Weymouth, who has now issued a High Court writ in which he is claiming £200,000 in compensation.

He spent two months in hospital after the January 2019 collision which happened when Mr Harris entered the roundabout in his Skoda Octavia car and crashed into the cyclist, who was thrown from his bike.

Mr Smith, aged 46, tried to return to his job as a care worker but was forced to take early retirement in July 2019 on medical grounds as a result of his injuries.

According to the writ he has filed at the High Court in London, Mr Harris was negligent in failing to spot the cyclist when he entered the roundabout and was at fault for the collision.

As a result of the crash, he has impaired verbal comprehension and memory problems, and also has issues regarding organisation, problem-solving and multi-tasking.

He also suffers from headaches and becomes fatigued easily, as well as suffering dizzy spells and tinnitus, and the writ says that while neurorehabilitation and neuropsychiatric may be of benefit, his condition is unlikely to improve on its own.

The writ says that when he was discharged from hospital, Mr Smith did not receive any immediate follow-up therapy for his injuries.

Doctors were also unable to go ahead with a planned reconstruction of his shoulder, which had been damaged in the crash, since they did not believe him capable of given informed consent.

He spent three months at home before attempting to return to work, but was unable to continue because of his neurocognitive impairment, despite undergoing occupational therapy for his injuries as well as physiotherapy for his shoulder.

The writ reveals that prior to the collision, Mr Smith already had a history of epilepsy but is now said to be at greater risk of suffering seizures as a result of the crash.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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17 comments

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Jenova20 | 2 years ago
0 likes

200K is a headline grabbing figure, but after reading and seeing his age - it does seem very low. I couldn't last a lifetime on 200K, and this guy has 10 years on me and serious health problems.

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
8 likes

On the face of it, this is a pretty low figure for compensation for those kind of injuries and losses, so I'm surprised that the insurance company isn't paying up.  Is there something we aren't being told?

Mind you, compensation in this country is a disgrace, with low payments even for life-changing injuries.

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chrisonabike | 2 years ago
0 likes

This is the correct place to campaign for "presumed liability" AKA "strict liability" in crashes.  This is where it would apply - at least anywhere where it has been enacted.

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Bucks Cycle Cammer replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
2 likes

I'm not sure it would make any difference in this case. The insurers have admitted liability.  Liability isn't the issue, but the amount of compensation.  

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S13SFC | 2 years ago
17 likes

I'm just in the last negotiations for a 5 figure amount after going after the driver who caused my hospitalisation in late May 2020.

There was no way on earth I was letting them get away with it. 

It's been a battle but totally worth it.

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Secret_squirrel replied to S13SFC | 2 years ago
5 likes

Take them for all you can get...

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S13SFC replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
8 likes

I'd have taken their house off them if I could.

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Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
11 likes

Scummy insurance company. £200000 is a pittance for 20 years of lost earnings.  10kpa ffs..

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Rua_taniwha replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
7 likes

I had the same thought. 2 million might be a more appropriate figure. Is there a mistake in the reporting,  is this evidence of the brain injury, or is it a very weak case? 

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Hirsute replied to Rua_taniwha | 2 years ago
5 likes

Maybe it depends on his job. If his pension scheme was generous, then perhaps the claim is for the gap between earnings and pension.
Although I'd want a lot more than 200k to last my lifetime.

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

Maybe it depends on his job. If his pension scheme was generous, then perhaps the claim is for the gap between earnings and pension. Although I'd want a lot more than 200k to last my lifetime.

In the article:

Quote:

Mr Smith, aged 46, tried to return to his job as a care worker but was forced to take early retirement in July 2019 on medical grounds as a result of his injuries.

Now he could have been looking after Lords (e.g. ones who've got too doddery to answer in court...) but other than that I suspect he's going to be short of cash. Unless he switched from a previous career in investment banking.

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Hirsute replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like

If they were in the local government scheme, they would get a full pension which is what I meant by generous.
Still think 200k is derisory.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
6 likes

Good luck to Mr Smith; legal cases like this might 'encourage' more motorists to pay attention to the task at hand...

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CyclingInGawler replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
4 likes

Unfortunately I think most motorists will just tell themselves that is why they have insurance, and carry on regardless. Compulsory third party insurance is terrific in providing a source of financial recompense in cases like this (notwithstanding the appalling stance of the insurance company in this case, assuming the reporting is accurate) but it also has the effect of shielding errant drivers from the full consequences of their actions; no need to sell the family home to come up with the compensation, for example. 

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Secret_squirrel replied to CyclingInGawler | 2 years ago
4 likes

We can hope their renewal premiums are going to be shocking!

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CyclingInGawler replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
3 likes

But unfortunately that news won't be reported.

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didsthewinegeek replied to CyclingInGawler | 2 years ago
2 likes

Unfortunately I think you're right

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