Romain Coleman recently concluded a case where we acted for ‘Mr L R’ who suffered injury while riding his bike in August 2019 when he fell into a pothole and he suffered injuries to his chest, shoulder, clavicle and psychological trauma. The general damages were agreed in the sum of £22,685 with special damages of £7,314.43.
As road users, whether driving a car, walking or riding a bicycle, potholes are an all too common sight. With local council budgets stretched, repairing potholes seems to be low on the priority list. Even so, they remain a clear danger for some road users, especially bicycles. What happens if your accident is due to a pothole, and you sustain critical or even life changing injuries? Recently, Romain Coleman successfully acted for a client in such a case, claiming significant damages as a result.
As a car driver, potholes are more of a nuisance than a danger. Of course a serious pothole can cause damage to your vehicle. If that has been the case let us know. However, for pedestrians and more importantly for bicycles, a pothole can cause serious problems.
Our roads are busy enough and quite dangerous for vulnerable cyclists. While cycle lanes afford a degree of protection, and often better maintained surfaces, they’re not always available, especially in urban areas.
As a cyclist, there are many distractions and dangers that have to be watched for – cars turning left across them, obstacles in the road, car doors opening, motorcyclists under and over taking in traffic, large lorries with blind spots, busses stopping and starting, and pedestrians stepping into the road. All these potential hazards can distract a cyclist from keeping a careful eye on the actual road surface that are using.
Potholes come in all shapes and sizes, many don’t case cyclists a problem. However, all it takes is a single, deeper pothole, wide enough to capture a cyclists wheel, and the cyclist is in serious trouble. Furthermore, most potholes are visible during dry weather, but when they become filled with water during a down pour, every road surface puddle can represent a hazard. Then there’s cycling at night, where a cyclist may not see the pothole to the very last moment when it is too late to avoid.
In heavy traffic conditions, cyclists don’t always have the luxury of being able to move significantly left or right to avoid such dangers, due to other road traffic dangers, and so, water filled potholes or those encountered at night can become a form of cycling Russian Roulette.
As was the case for our client, ‘Mr L R’. He encountered a pothole while riding his bike. It was big enough to swallow his front wheel. This catapulted him over his handlebars onto the road surface. Luckily, no other vehicles were involved. His injuries resulted from impacting the road surface at speed.
It’s not hard to imagine how easy it is for a serious accident to psychologically affect somebody. Roads are dangerous enough today, without the additional concerns of an impaired road surface and potholes waiting to unseat and distracted cyclist. One accident can put somebody off cycling for life, even if it’s something the love doing. Not being able to do something you really enjoy can cause an array of mental health issues, including depression. If cycling is something you simply have to do, perhaps because cycling is the only way to get from A-to-B, having suffered an accident can create significant levels of fear and anxiety in the person concerned. A nervous, unconfident cyclist is perhaps more likely to have an accident than a confident one, and so this situation an easily spiral negatively, further impacting the health of the individual.
It’s easy to underestimate the impact a simple pothole can have on somebody’s life, hit one on a bicycle and your life can change in an instant. But, if this happens to you, how can you make a claim?
For any claim to stand a chance of success, you need evidence.
After having had an accident, it may not be realistic for you to take photos of the scene, after all, you may be incapacitated. It is however important that you do, or at least have somebody do that for you, urgently. Also, use something along side the pothole to give an indication of size, a coin or somebody’s foot, or even another bicycle wheel. If the bicycle was damaged, photos of the damage too.
If other witnessed the accident, try to get their names and contact details for a statement. The same is try if the police were involved, get the police reports of the incident.
Did the accident take place in front of any CCTV? Local traffic cameras may hold evidence, as to those in private or retail premises.
If you attend hospital, get the medical records associated with your treatment.
If your bicycle was damaged and if you sustained damage to your clothing or other items in your possession, such as a phone or laptop in a bag, get repair or replacement estimates.
If you have had a cycling accident because of a pothole, give the team at Romain Coleman a call. Let us assess your situation and advise you on the next steps and potential outcome. We have a solid track record of gaining significant compensation for personal injury claims due to poor road and pavement surfaces.
Simply call us on 0208 520 4555 or contact us here.