Fieldfisher's specialist personal injury team were instructed by Christian following a road traffic collision which took place on 15 April 2009. Christian was cycling along the westbound bus and bicycle lane on Pentonville Road, from the direction of the Angel underground station, towards Kings Cross station. At the same time, a London bus was being driven along the Pentonville Road in the opposite direction to Christian, and was intending to perform a right hand turn from Pentonville Road across the bus and bicycle lane that Christian was cycling along.
Watch Christian tell his story
Christian continued to cycle along the Pentonville Road, when the bus started to turn right and was involved in a head on collision with Christian. Christian suffered extremely severe injuries involving a fractured skull, bilateral contusions of the frontal lobes of his brain and a fractured spine.
Prior to our involvement in the case the police investigated the conduct of both parties. The police were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to prove that the bus driver had driven in a substandard manner and the bus driver was not convicted of any offence.
Following our instruction in July 2010, we were able to analyse in detail, CCTV footage which proved that the bus had in fact driven through a red light. The Defendants admitted primary liability and we obtained an initial substantial interim payment for Christian which allowed him to receive inpatient treatment at the specialist rehab centre at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability in Putney.
The Defendants initially alleged that Christian had been cycling at an inappropriate speed, that he himself had proceeded through a red light, and that his injuries would have been prevented had he been wearing a bicycle helmet, which he was not. There was insufficient evidence to prove that Christian had cycled in anything other than an entirely appropriate manner, but as a result of him failing to wear a helmet, and following lengthy discussions with the Defendants, Judgement was entered in Christian's favour for 82.% of such damages as he was to be awarded.
Christian suffered from a subtle but significant brain injury as a result of the collision. Prior to his collision he was working in the catering industry preparing food for a London pub. As a result of his brain injury he suffered a complete loss of his sense of taste and smell, meaning that he was unable to return to the same form of work. Christian's brain injury means that he suffers with reduced memory, loss of concentration, fatigue, anger, depression, right sided hearing loss and general personality change.
At the time of the collision Christian was living in a small flat in the Kings Cross area. It was important for him to move away from the location of his collision and to be in a more spacious and quiet environment. Rental accommodation was secured for Christian in South West London where he has required a huge amount of assistance from support workers and a treating team including a neuropsychologist, neuropsychiatrist and case manager.
Following further negotiations with the Defendants and approval by the Court, Christian's case settled for a gross sum of over £1.5 million in June 2014 and he was subsequently able to purchase appropriate accommodation on the South Coast where he now lives.
Christian went on to say:
"After a very disappointing relationship with another law firm, my family turned to Fieldfisher who, through Mark Bowman, did an outstanding job. Without Mark's diligence and commitment it would not have been possible to prove successfully that the defendants were at fault. I was awarded a substantial settlement which has enabled me to adjust and carry on with my life. I have been able to resume some cycling and mountaineering. Myself and family will be forever in Mark's debt."
At the conclusion of the case, Mark Bowman, partner in Fieldfisher's personal injury team, commented:
"I am glad that we have been able to secure significant compensation for Christian which will ensure he has the accommodation and support that he now requires. Cyclists remain vulnerable road users, especially on London's often narrow and congested roads. This accident would and should have been avoided had the bus driver paid attention to the traffic lights and the fact that Christian was in front of him. I hope that highlighting the circumstances of this case will ensure that other cyclists avoid similar incidents in the future."