This was a claim for damages brought by a cyclist who sustained injury when he fell from his bicycle. The claim was funded with the benefit of a Conditional Fee Agreement.
The essence of the claim was that the claimant had ridden through a pool of oil which had escaped from the defendant’s parked vehicle. The claimant sustained serious leg injuries.
The defendant denied that her vehicle was parked where the claimant said it was parked, or that it was in any condition such that oil would leak from it. Details and photographs of the defendant’s vehicle were obtained.
The claimant had produced a witness questionnaire from a witness who suggested that she was aware that the vehicle was leaking oil. She was approached, and when the photographs of the vehicle were shown to her, gave evidence that this was not the vehicle she witnessed leaking oil. It was a different colour altogether. This witness did not see the incident herself but came across the claimant, as he was sat on the entrance to her property, waiting for an ambulance to attend. She waited with him and surmised as to what had happened.
On further investigation into the matter is also became clear that the defendant’s vehicle had been parked at work during the day and then, during the evening, had been parked at another address. The defendant had recently moved but, on the night of the alleged incident, had agreed with her housemates that they would return to the property they were sharing to clean it out. Her housemates produced witness evidence.
The defendant served her evidence in accordance with Court directions. However the claimant never complied with Court directions, in terms of giving disclosure or exchanging evidence. Further, he did not pay the relevant court fees and, eventually, the claim was struck out by the Court because of the failure to pay fees. A trial date had been set and it seemed likely that the claimant failed to give proper instruction to his solicitors, such that those providing After the Event Insurance refused to indemnify him in relation to court fees and trial costs. Subsequently the claimant’s solicitors applied for and were successful in coming off the court record.
Although claims involving pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists are often extremely difficult to defend, it was possible to do so on this occasion because of the significant investigations which were carried out on behalf of the defendant.