Court Awards Cyclist £5.3 Million in Compensation

The court has awarded a car accident victim £5.3 million in compensation, despite attributing 50% negligence for the cyclist's own lack of care. 

In 2005, Toby Phethean-Hubble (sixteen years of age at the time of the incident) was cycling outside of the Whitchurch Leisure Centre in Shropshire when he attempted to cross the road on his bicycle. He rode into the path of a car, and was stuck by it. Toby was thrown into the car's windscreen and over the top of the car, hitting the ground on the other side. 

Toby had neglected to wear a cycling helmet at the time of the incident, and thus suffered severe brain injuries as a result of the impact. The brain trauma left him unable to walk, and he could not take up his planned trade as a cabinet maker. Toby has been receiving intensive therapy since the accident, and as a result he can move around his house with the aid of a walking frame. Despite these advances, he still requires full-time care. 

On behalf of her son, Shani Phethean-Hubble made a cyclist injury claim against the driver's insurance company. The driver of the car-Sam Coles-was only seventeen at the time of the accident, and had only passed his driving test eight days before the accident. He had been driving his mother's automatic car for the first time when he struck Toby. His insurance company denied liability for Toby's injuries, stating that Toby was himself at fault as he had not been using his lights despite it being 8pm, and he had neglected to wear a helmet. 

Coles did admit to the police that he had been driving 35mph in a 30mph zone, and the family took Toby's cyclist injury claim to court. A verdict was delivered in Toby's favour, but he was assigned one-third contributory negligence for his own lack of care which caused the incident to occur. 

Coles' insurers appeal the decision, bringing the case to the Appeal Court in 2012. Toby's contributory negligence was increased to one-half, and the cyclist injury claim was adjourned for the assessment of compensation. 

Mr Justice Stewart heard the case in the High Court in London, approved a compensation settlement of £5.3 million to pay for Toby's care and accommodation at a specialist centre, hoping to help him lead as independent a life as possible.