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.

€79,000 for Dublin Hit and Run Victim

A hit and run victim from Dublin has been awarded €79,000 in compensation for arm and back injuries she sustained after being run over while socialising with friends on Dollymount Beach in 2006.

Siofra O'Loughlin went to retrieve a stray ball when she was run over by a driver - who was never identified. The driver reversed over O'Loughlin before jumping out of his car, looking at the victim laying on the ground and driving off again, according to reports made by the victim's friends to the Gardai.

O'Loughlin was treated for a fractured humerus bone and a series of abrasions on her back.

As the driver was never traced, O'Loughlin pursued a claim against the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland, which contested the claim, arguing that different versions of the event had been reported to Gardai. Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill sided with O'Loughlin, stating that he believed the version of events she presented in court. 

Oregon Man Awarded $1.4m for Broken Neck

William Geary from Jackson County, Oregon, has been awarded $1.4m for a car accident claim he brought against a driver whose trailer detached from the truck hauling it and fell on the roof of his car. Geary suffered a broken neck and catastrophic spinal injuries as a result of the accident, during which he had been waiting at a red light.

Geary had to wait an hour and a half before being freed from his Chevrolet Silverado by paramedics as they attempted to cut him free from the wreckage.

The driver hauling the trailer, Philip McCullough, was found to have failed to spot that the brake slack adjusters were mismatched and that the brakes on the trailer were not correctly aligned. He was fined for improper driving and making a careless turn.

As part of the settlement, Geary recovered $300,000 in medical expenses and $400, 000 for his pain and suffering. The remaining $700,000 was paid for loss of amenity