Cycling Accident Compensation Claim Results in Split Liability

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.