A pedestrian who was looking at her mobile phone while crossing a road has won a little over £4,000 in damages from the cyclist who knocked her over. The judge accepted that the traffic light was green for Robert Hazeldean as he cycled through a busy junction near London Bridge and that Gemma Brushett was looking at her phone, but ruled that Hazeldean was liable to pay damages and court costs of the two-day trial – currently standing at £100,000.
Judge Shanti Mauger said the two were equally to blame for the incident, but only Brushett was entitled to compensation because she had put in a claim and Hazeldean had not.
Hazeldean has said that he now realises he should have put in a counter-claim at the start of case, but was reluctant to do so because he objected to the ‘claim culture’.
How did this cyclist find himself liable to pay £100,000 court costs?
When Hazeldean was sued by Brushett, he did not seek legal representation. Had he done so, his counsel would most likely have counter-sued – after all, when the case went to court, the judge ruled that the two parties were equally to blame. In other words, had Hazeldean followed legal advice, it’s highly unlikely the case would have ended up in court or that he would have been liable for damages. This case highlights the risks to a defendant that is not insured and when both parties are partly responsible, but only one has claimed damages.
How would cycle insurance have helped in this case?
Yes, cycle insurance not only protects against theft and accidental damage – most policies include third party cover too. For example, cycle insurance from the ETA includes £5m cover against damage caused to property or person. Had Hazeldean had cycle insurance, the whole affair would have been dealt with on his behalf. It’s extremely unlikely that the case would have ended in court, but had it done so, his liabilities would have been covered by the insurance.
Ethical cycle insurance
On the face of it, one cycle insurance policy is much like another, but the devil is the detail. Check your small print for so-called ‘new-for-old’ replacement – many insurers use the term, but if your bicycle is more than a few years old, devalue it severely. This means you are left out of pocket when you come to replace it.
With ETA cycle insurance, however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model. Furthermore, every cycle insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future. Little wonder The Good Shopping Guide has voted us Britain’s most ethical insurance company.