A cyclist aged 57 who suffered a severe head injury when his bike wheel hit a 2 inch deep pothole has received a £70,000 payout from his local council.
The claimant, who was wearing a safety helmet, was suddenly forced to swerve but lost control of his bicycle when he encountered a large pothole when cycling along a residential road. The claimant, who says he is unable to remember the incident, was immediately rushed to hospital for emergency treatment for injuries to his skull and arm. A medical report found the claimant had suffered "cognitive impairments" caused by the brain injury, which hindered his ability at work. As result, the claimant was forced to find new employment, which meant a loss of earnings.
Following the accident, an investigation found a 40 mm (1.5 inch) deep defect in the road adjacent to the centre of the carriageway.
Council “Breach of Duty”
The court heard that Council roads manager had inspected the road six months previously and accepted that the defect had been missed because it was to the offside of his vehicle and “would not have been visible to him.” The inspector also stated that had he seen the defect, he would have classified it as a "category one" pothole, which requires to be repaired within seven days.
The inspector's failure to notice the defect was held by the court to be a ‘breach of duty’ with the observation that that as the main damage to roads occurs in winter, it was “likely that the defect had been in a worse condition six months before the accident.”
The court also held that cycling at 18-20 miles per hour was not excessive and the claimant did not bear any responsibility, In conclusion, the court found that “on the balance of probabilities” the claimant had travelled over the centre-line and his front wheel had entered the defect or he had swerved to avoid the defect.
The compensation awarded to the claimant included £20,000 for his “future disadvantage” in the workplace because of his inability to deal with high level tasks.