A bicycle courier has been awarded €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation after claims that he contributed to the cause of the accident were dismissed.
In March 2015, Rotimi Omotayo was cycling between carriageways on Custom House Quay, when a taxi driven by Kenneth Griffin pulled out from a line of stationary traffic, knocking Rotimi from his bike.
Fortunately, Rotimi escaped serious injury, but when he applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his injuries, consent to conduct the assessment was denied on the grounds of contributory negligence.
The Injuries Board issued Rotimi with an authorisation to pursue his claim for taxi accident injury compensation in court, and the case was heard recently by Mr Justice Bernard Barton at the High Court.
At the hearing, Judge Barton heard witnesses on behalf of both parties testify how the accident happened – the significant issue being if Rotimi had been in breach of Road Traffic Regulations by cycling in the hatched area.
After hearing that Rotimi was delivering to the river side of the Quay, and had every entitlement to cycle in the outside lane before turning right, Judge Barton found in his favour. The judge said that Rotimi had the right of way and was sufficiently close to Kenneth Griffin to give the taxi driver a duty of care.
Judge Barton dismissed the claim of contributory negligence and assigned full liability to Mr Griffin for pulling out into bicycle courier´s path. However, when it came to assessing damages, Judge Barton said he was not going to rely on the Book of Quantum as it was “hopelessly out of date and of little assistance”.
Instead the judge applied the principals of Tort law to award Rotimi €30,000 taxi accident injury compensation for his general damages. With regard to his claim for special damages, Judge Barton said there was insufficient evidence to justify Rotimi´s alleged loss of earnings due to his injuries. The judge allowed “properly vouched and agreed” special damages – including Rotimi´s legal costs.
A man, who suffered kidney damage after being injured in a hit and run accident, has seen his settlement of cyclist hit by car compensation reduced to reflect his own lack of care.
Christopher O´Brien (33) of Ballymun, County Dublin, had been cycling home from a St Patrick´s Day party in March 2011 on a bicycle borrowed from a neighbour, when he lost control of the vehicle and fell onto the road.
As he was trying to remount the bicycle, Christopher was hit by a passing motorist who failed to stop at the scene. Christopher was taken to the Mater Hospital, where blood was found in his urine due to kidney damage resulting from the impact with the car. Christopher was hospitalised for five days due to his injuries.
CCTV footage was unhelpful in tracing the hit and run driver and, after seeking professional legal advice, Christopher made a claim for cyclist hit by car compensation against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
Christopher admitted that he had been celebrating “enthusiastically” at the party and therefore the compensation claim for a cyclist hit by a car was heard in the Circuit Civil Court to assess the percentage contribution to his injuries Christopher himself was liable for.
At the Circuit Civil Court, Judge Matthew Deery accepted that the seriousness of the kidney injury would have been caused by more than a fall from a bike. However, the judge added that “Mr O’Brien, in electing to cycle home at that time of the morning and having consumed so much alcohol had put himself in the way of injury “.
Judge Deery awarded Christopher €20,336 cyclist hit by car compensation but said, because of the situation he had put himself in at the time, he would deduct 30 per cent for contributory negligence – reducing the settlement of compensation to €14,235.
A child, who sustained head and leg injuries when he was thrown from his tricycle following a collision with a car, is to receive 100,000 Euros in tricycle injury compensation after the settlement of his claim was approved in the High Court.
Bartosz Zakrzewski from Birr, County Offaly, was just nine years of age when the accident occurred in July 2010. As he was cycling along An Coran Street in Birr, his tricycle was in collision with a car driven by Caitríona Kelly – also a resident of Birr, County Offaly. Bartosz´s tricycle was hit with such force that the boy was thrown several metres along the ground – suffering head injuries, curs and lacerations to his body as he fell and sustaining a broken leg.
Bartosz made a claim for tricycle injury compensation through his mother – Monika – claiming that Ms Kelly had been driving without due care and attention and in breach of her duty of care. Ms Kelly denied the allegations and – because of the potential value of damages that could be awarded in this case – the claim was scheduled to be heard at Dublin´s High Court.
However, shortly before proceedings at the High Court were due to begin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that an agreement had been reached to settle Bartosz´s claim for tricycle injury compensation in the amount of 100,000 Euros without an admission of liability from Ms Kelly. The judge approved the settlement of Bartosz´s tricycle injury claim, commenting that she had sympathy for both Bartosz´s family and Ms Kelly.
A six year old boy, who was accidently knocked from his bike by a neighbour, has had a compensation award of 87,000 Euros approved in the High Court. Cian Ryan of Lucan, Dublin, was cycling his bike along the road outside the home of his neighbour – Ms Kishwar Shafqat – in April 2009. Ms Shafqat accidently knocked Cian from his bike while reversing her car out of her drive, causing him to sustain terrible injuries to his leg.
In an action brought through Cian’s father, Eric, it was claimed that Ms Shafqat was negligent in that she had failed to keep a proper lookout as she was manoeuvring. Liability was not denied and the case had been brought before Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns for assessment of damages.
Before approving the compensation payment, the judge heard that Cian still walked with a limp due to the accident and had suffered recurring nightmares about the event. Discovering that Cian was a Manchester United fan, the judge made it a condition of the settlement that 1,000 Euros was set aside so that Cian and his family could visit Old Trafford to watch his favourite team in action.
A cyclist, who went over the handlebars of his mountain bike shortly after collecting it from a bicycle repair shop, has been awarded 48,000 Euros in damages.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne heard how Piotr Lizanowicz (27) of Rathgar, County Dublin, had left his mountain bike with Hollingsworth Cycles Limited, Templeogue Village, Dublin, to have the brakes fixed and broken spokes repaired.
On collecting the bike in April 2009, and paying 54,00 Euros for the service, Mr. Lizanowicz was cycling along the Terenure Road when he heard a noise coming from the front wheel which subsequently locked – throwing Mr. Lizanowicz over the handlebars of his bike and fracturing his elbow.
It was claimed in court that when the front wheel tyre was re-inflated, no check was made to ensure that the tyre and inner tubing were seated correctly within the rim of the wheel. This led to the inner tube popping out while the bike was in motion, obstructing the front wheel from rotating and causing the accident.
Mr. Lizanowicz consequently sued Hollingsworth Cycles Limited for alleged negligence and breach of contract relating to repairs carried out on the bike. Hollingsworth Cycles Limited denied the allegations and challenged the sequence of events, claiming that Mr. Lizanowicz had fabricated the story to get money out of the company.
Having heard both sets of arguments and expert reports, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled in favour of Mr. Lizanowicz and included in her award of settlement an amount of 7,000 Euros for aggravated damages, stating that the defence had unambiguously made the allegation of fraud against the plaintiff.
The Road Traffic Bill 2009 that arrives in Seanad Eireann this week after passing unopposed in the Dáil last week will improve road safety in Ireland by reducing road traffic accident deaths while also having an important impact on road traffic accident injury compensation claims. The Road Safety Authority has ample statistics on drunk driving that show that alcohol contributes to one third of all fatal traffic accidents in Ireland. A driver at the current limit of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood is six times more likely to have an accident than a sober driver.
Minister Dempsey has pursued his campaign to save lives despite what has been described as ‘huge pressure”. The improved safety measures were, somewhat incredibly, strongly opposed by a group of rural TDs who pointed out that rural pubs are often the centre of social life in rural areas where there is no public transport. The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland opposed the new measures and pointed out that speeding was the biggest single cause of road deaths in Ireland.
The blood alcohol limit for learner and professional drivers, such as taxi drivers, has been reduced to 20 mg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood. The best new feature of the new law is that drivers will now be tested for alcohol in traffic accidents when anyone has been injured.
New Rules will Impact Injury Compensation Process
The circumstances of road traffic accident injury claims will now often be somewhat clearer because the gardai will test drivers for alcohol. Regardless of the circumstances of an accident, a driver found to have consumed alcohol will very likely be held negligent. Drivers under the influence of alcohol are never in full control of their vehicles and even their statements about the circumstances of an accident cannot be fully relied upon. Even the victim of a rear end car accident that is found to have consumed alcohol will be guilty of contributory negligence. If you are ever involved in a road traffic accident, do not hesitate to inform any gardai present of potential injuries so that they will conduct alcohol tests on all parties in the accident. Your solicitor will use evidence of alcohol consumption while negotiating any injury compensation settlement.
More improvements are still required:
There may be a temporary shortage of roadside breathalysers as the new measures are rolled out and some drunk drivers may avoid testing because the new bill states that the mandatory testing must be done within one hour.
The lack of a driving ban for drivers caught with between 50 mg and 100 mg seriously undermines the new measures.
There is still no mandatory requirement for alcohol tests where someone has not been injured. Such a requirement would further help discourage drink driving.
There is still no drug driving testing measures, despite the fact that workplace drug testing is now a standard procedure for many occupations and has been in place for decades in the United States.
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has launched a campaign, to coincide with National Bike Week, to encourage cyclist to wear helmets. Cyclist are particularly vulnerable to head injuries during road traffic accidents and bicycle accident claims tend to be higher than average due to the severity of the injuries. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland estimates that there are about 10,000 brain injuries each year in Ireland. Wearing a helmet reduces by up to 88% the risk of suffering a serious head trauma and possible lifelong disability during a bicycle accident.
National Bike Week in Ireland runs from June 13th until June 20th with hundreds of events nationwide.