Cyclist Wins Damages for Pothole Crash
30th May 2014Back to articles
A cyclist who was badly injured when he swerved to avoid a pothole has won nearly £70,000 in compensation after the High Court ruled that the local authority responsible for maintaining the road had failed in its public duty.
Alan Curtis earned £90,000 a year as a high-flying charity fundraiser before the 2009 accident, in which he sustained skull fractures and a broken arm. He has no memory of the accident, due to post-traumatic amnesia, and was left with hearing difficulties and mild brain damage, leading to problems in processing information. He has since taken on a 'less stressful' role in the charity sector, at a lower rate of pay.
Awarding him total damages of £69,425, including interest, the Court found that the local authority, which was the highway authority responsible for the road in question, had failed to establish that it had taken reasonable steps to ensure that the stretch of the road where the accident happened was safe for use by cyclists. An inspection of the road performed a few months before the accident had been 'defective'.
Mr Curtis was with a group of friends training for a charity cycle ride when the accident happened. He and his two companions regularly went out on weekend cycling jaunts, often covering 50 miles at a time, and all those who knew him had described him as a 'careful and sensible cyclist'.
The group of friends were 'cautious and experienced' riders and Mr Curtis in particular 'never cycled faster than he should'. He was travelling at up to 20mph at the time of the accident and probably crashed when he swerved to avoid a pothole. Dismissing arguments that he was in part the author of his own misfortune, the Court found that he would have had no time to avoid the hazard.
If you have been injured because the council or organisation responsible for maintaining a road or pavement properly has failed to do so, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Peter Shah, Partner and Solicitor at Awdry Bailey and Douglas by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our offices in Devizes on 01380 722311, Marlborough on 01367 518620, Chippenham on 01249 47833 or in Royal Wootton Bassett on 01793 853200 for advice.