Fenella Sinclair (62) of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was cycling along Broadwater Forest Lane in July 2011 when a 4x4 vehicle clipped the wheel of her bicycle.

The incident caused Fenella to fall from her bicycle and strike her head on the road. She was brought to hospital, where she was diagnosed with multiple fractures to her skull, brain damage, spinal damage and several broken ribs. As a consequence of her injuries, Fenella to this day remains in a minimally conscious state, four years after the incident. She is entirely dependant on others, and requires 24 hour care.

An investigation was launched into the accident, and the police brought no charges against the driver of the vehicle, Rachel Joyner. However, on her mother's behalf, Fenella's daughter made a claim for cycling injury compensation. Fenella was too brain damaged to make the claim herself, and was also unable to remember the incident that left her so severely injured.

The defendants denied fault, and as a result, Fenella's daughter consulted with an accident reconstruction expert and her solicitors in order to determine the circumstances leading up to the incident. The solicitors, upon receiving information from the Kent police investigators, were able to build a case to support the compensation claim.

Rachel Joyner still refused to accept liability for the accident, resulting in the case being brought to the High Court. Mrs Justice Cox ruled that Rachel Joyner had been negligent in her driving of the vehicle after three days of testimony had been delivered. She was attributed three-quarters of the liability for the injuries, and the rest was delegated to Fenella herself, allowing for the cyclist's position in the road at the time that contact been the wheel and car was made.

The case was then adjourned so that damages could be assessed and predictions of Fenella's future needs could be made. The settlement could reach several million pounds, according to Fenella's solicitor. 

A collision between a motorcyclist and a tractor results in £1 million being awarded to the motorcyclists on compensation for the various injuries he sustained.

In July 2011, Warwick Buswell (44) of the Isle of Wight was travelling along Newport Road on his motorcycle. When he rode over the top of a hill and collided with a tractor and trailer that had been blocking the width of the road, which had been invisible to him until the crash occurred.

Warwick was brought to hospital where he was diagnosed with a serious head injury and several other injuries to his body. It was later discovered that the driver of the tractor was uninsured, and as a result, Warwick made a tractor accident compensation claim against the Motor Insurers Board, who are responsible for settling claims when the driver of the vehicle involved is lacks insurance.

Warwick alleged that the driver of the tractor-trailer combination had not used to correct exit to get onto the road from the farm, suggesting that had he used a more suitable exit, the accident could have been avoided entirely.

The defendant denied full liability for the injuries sustained by Warwick, saying the Warwick had contributory negligence. They claimed that Warwick was either travelling too fast on the road at 60mph, or that he failed to stop in time when the tractor and trailer came into view.

Due to defendant contesting the liability, the claim for injury compensation went to the High Court in London. Warwick's barrister stated that "His case is that this was obviously an unsafe place to exit the field and that there are a large number of alternatives which would have been safer." The hearing is still ongoing.

How to help cyclists in accidents

When cyclist incurs an accident on the road, it is not a pretty sight. However, the congested roads and emerging traffic continues to put the cyclist at risk. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable victims in an accident are cyclists in as much as they have little protection.

How do we help cyclists who encountered an accident? We can assist them by calling for help in the nearest police station to document the accident and call for medical assistance. It is the least that we can do.

First, traffic discipline must be instilled to both driver and nearby passers. As drivers of the two wheeled transportation, the driver must make sure that they are compliant to traffic rules. What are these rules? What is commonly missed out are the safety gears used when driving such as helmets, body gear and the like.

Moreover, what they have to stay conscious about is their patience and perseverance in traffic. What these motorists or bike riders take advantage of is having the habit of making themselves fit in small openings of a traffic line or driving in between. Being slim and small as compared with a normal car, they tend to forget the risk of encountering an accident that can be fatal. A simple light bump can immediately make them lose their balance which can make them skid. The matter that makes it so frustrating in this scenario is whether the bike driver is at fault or not, the physical damage is most likely to do more injury.

Another help that can also be considered is the process of releasing the driver's licenses. Maybe, what the government agency can do is make sure that all safety gears are in place prior to the release of their licenses. They did these for helmets which have to be ICC compliant.

Same thing can be applied to other safety accessories such as body pads and knee pads. The absence of these accessories will not allow the riders to use their bikes in public roads nor issue them their license. Perhaps with these requirements, the step to safety can be made. An orientation can also be administered to these drivers on traffic safety and governing policies. Adherence to its proper lane provision would greatly help the drivers to safety. This basically means no overtaking of lanes for regular car drivers nor are they allowed to use the motorcycle lanes.

Lastly, the factor that has to be considered is instilling proper discipline to commuters. These commuters must bear in mind that the accidents are not solely caused by the drivers but also other vehicles on the streets. Proper policies on crossing the streets and where to walk must also be oriented perhaps by the local officials and authorities.

Awareness campaign on traffic and driving policies would always be a major plus. Traffic signs are not enough. These campaigns can be made by the local government through respective homeowners association. Having a safety advocacy can lead to lesser accidents and more safety roads.

A Garda who sustained hip and leg injuries when his patrol car was rammed has been awarded €45,000 compensation for Garda car accident injuries.

 Garda Bernard McLoughlin was involved in an accident in December 2009 in which his colleague Garda Gary McLoughlin was killed, when their Garda car was rammed by a car driven by Martin McDermott, of Raphoe, County Donegal.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard how Garda Bernard McLoughlin has since taken educational leave to study in Australia.

Bus Accident Injury Claim Resolved

A man who sustained an eye injury when a tree branch shattered the window of the bus in which he was travelling, has been awarded €8,000 compensation in settlement of his claim for a bus accident personal injury.

Rafal Kowalski (35), of Castleknock, Dublin made the claim when a branch shattered the front top deck window of the Nº 37 bus on which he was travelling. Although an examination at the Eye and Ear Hospital found his vision to be six over five - which is better than normal vision - Dublin Bus did concede that Mr Kowalski suffered discomfort from dry eye syndrome for several months following the accident.

A man who sustained kidney damaged in a hit and run accident has had his compensation settlement for injury reduced due to contributory negligence.

Christopher O´Brien (33) of Ballymun, County Dublin was cycling home from a St. Patricks Day Party when he fell off his bike. A passing motorist who failed to stop then collided with the victim, causing him kidney damage. Gardai were unable to trace the driver therefore the compensation claim was made against the Motor Insurers´ Bureau of Ireland.

Although Judge Matthew Deery accepted his injury was caused by more than a fall from his bike, he placed himself at risk of injury by cycling home while under the influence of alcohol. Judge Deery awarded Christopher €20,336 in compensation but deducted 30 per cent for contributory negligence.

The highest ever amount of compensation awarded in Ireland was made last week to ten-year-old Cullen Kennedy of Loughrea, County Galway after he suffered a life-altering injury while travelling in a car with his mother. The claim worth €11.5m, which was pursued by his grandmother on his behalf as his mother was an insured driver, was made for injuries which left Kennedy a quadriplegic and breathing through a ventilator.

The car accident happened after Kennedy's mother was momentarily distracted and wandered into the path of an oncoming car, slamming into it head on. Neither Kennedy's mother nor the driver of the other car suffered any serious injuries; Cullen however, was thrown against the windscreen despite being tied into a child safety seat at the time.

Despite awarding the highest ever sum to a car crash victim, Justice Mary Irvine criticised the lack of Periodic Payment Orders, claiming that the courts are gambling with accident victims' lives. "The reality is the courts don't know when people are going to die," she said. "We are gambling every day."

A fifty-two-year-old man who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being hit by a Luas tram on his way home from a night out in a local football club has been awarded €650,000 in compensation by a High Court judge, who said that the tram network's operators, Veolia Transport and the Railway Procurement Agency, failed to provide appropriate signage at the scene.

Derek Cross, who was drinking beer with friends at BlueBell United Football Club, walked out onto a dual carriageway at about 1.30am trying to reach a taxi rank on the other side of the road. Despite the defendants' argument that Cross had contributed to his own injury through his alcohol consumption, Justice Mary Irvine sided with the claimant, and said that the settlement was exceptionally god given that he went to court in danger of losing his settlement. The approved amount was agreed by both parties out-of-court. 

A judge has ordered an insurance company to pay aggravated damages to a claimant after it failed in its attempt to convince the court that he had colluded with a defence witness to have him support his claim for whiplash. James O'Sullivan of Clane, County Kildare, was awarded €3,000 by Justice Matthew Deery in addition to a €7,750 settlement he had already approved. The compensation is to be paid out by AXA Insurance.

O'Sullivan's vehicle was rear-ended by a taxi driven by Gary Reilly of Ballyfermot, Dublin, in September 2008. The judge heard how Reilly had sworn an affidavit concerning the events. 

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Unnamed Man Awarded €4.25m for Brain Injury

A man who was thrown from an uninsured vehicle and suffered severe brain trauma has been awarded €4.25m by the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland -reduced by 20% to reflect his contributory negligence by not wearing a seatbelt.

The man, who is a ward of court and cannot be named for legal reasons - was a back seat passenger in a car which spun out of control and eventually hit a tree when he suffered his injury. He was 19 years old at the time.

Justice Mary Irvine heard at the High Court how the man has been left requiring permanent nursing care and that he can only communicate through the use of his thumbs. She said that the award is an excellent settlement, which will provide care for the man for the rest of his life.

Justice Irvine added that the foster mother who had been caring for the victim should be awarded a €544,800 lump sum to compensate her for the expenses and hospital bills she has already incurred.