Damages for cyclist with a pre-existing spinal cord injury

A million-pound award for a paraplegic who broke his wrist whilst out for a cycle ride. Aspire Law was assisted by leading counsel William Latimer-Sayer of Cloisters.



Our client sustained a complete T4 spinal cord injury following an earlier unrelated accident. He was an experienced hand cyclist but when out cycling had the misfortune to be struck by a third- party vehicle.



Following an early liability investigation Aspire Law were able to extract a full liability admission from the third-party insurer.


Litigation Process

Proceedings were issued in this case due the limitation period of three years expiring, but the parties worked consensually with little disagreement in the early stages.


Difficulties following injury

Pre-cycling accident our client was largely independent, requiring only modest assistance with daily living activities. Post accident our client needed a lot of help which included the use of an electric wheelchair which he found extremely difficult to accept. His care needs increased very significantly. Low mood became an issue as did temper outburst and reclusiveness.


Developments during the claim

To assist our client following discharge from hospital home and with activities of daily living and equipment, Aspire Law were able to obtain a number of interim payments to fund all aspect of our client’s life.


Whilst his wrist improved with physiotherapy, he remained very much less able than he was pre- accident making transfers a challenge and difficulties using a manual wheelchair.



The value of the case centred around the need for professional paid care/assistance and the equipment he now required for getting around. Our client needed a bigger vehicle and specialist equipment in line with his reduced arm function.

Aspire Law instructed a number of experts to include leading care expert, Maggie Sargent.

Despite being a wrist injury only, the evidence supported a seven-figure settlement.



Once the evidence was complete and costed, this was entered onto a schedule of loss and presented to the third-party solicitor on a without prejudice basis. The third-party solicitor likewise disclosed their counter schedule.


The relationship between the parties had been cordial throughout the litigation process. There was though disagreement on the level of damages that our client should receive. The parties were approximately £1.5m apart.


The parties agreed to a joint settlement meeting in an attempt to reach a middle ground. At the meeting an agreement was reached just shy of £1m plus costs.



This case is a good example of the thin skull principle, that you take the claimant as you find them. A broken wrist wouldn’t in the normal course achieve damages of £1m but given the affect the wrist injury had on our client’s independence and wellbeing it was a just result.



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