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Written on 16th June 2020 by

A 17 year old motorcyclist was knocked off his bike when the driver of a car did a u-turn in a line of stationary traffic. The front offside of the defendant’s car hit the motorcyclist’s left leg as he travelled alongside the line of traffic.

The motorcyclist claimed that the driver attempted the u-turn without any warning whatsoever of his intention to do so. However liability was denied by the driver, he claimed that he was indicating when he made the u-turn and that the teenager was carrying out a dangerous manoeuvre in overtaking traffic.

The driver’s lawyers made various offers to settle on reduced liability throughout the life of the case, all of which were rejected by the motorcyclist. Liability was eventually agreed on an 87.5/12.5% basis in favour of the bike rider.

The young motorcyclist suffered multiple severe injuries to his left lower leg and ankle, including an open fracture of the left tibia and fibula, soft tissue and ligament injuries to his left knee and soft tissue injuries to his left ankle and post traumatic stress.

He underwent a number of operations for debridement of the wound, application of an external fixator with plastic surgery to reconstruct his shin. Unfortunately the bones did not unite and further operations had to be carried out, including bone grafting of the leg. He developed an infection and required even further surgery.

He was left with obvious scarring on his left leg; his left ankle swelled up regularly and his left knee was intermittently painful.

Prior to the accident the 17 year old was living with his parents, working as an apprentice in the electrical distribution industry and had been earmarked for a permanent job on completion of his apprenticeship. He had a definite career plan with an end goal of being promoted to Senior Technician. However the job involved carrying heavy equipment, digging, kneeling and manual labour which he was unable to do following the accident.

The motorcyclist’s road traffic accident claim was settled for £500,000 including £40,000 for damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity and over £360,000 for future loss of earnings.

Kim Smerdon, head of the specialist road traffic accident claim team at Boyes Turner, commented on the case: “The majority of damages in road traffic accident claim were to compensate the young man for his future loss of earnings. He obtained very strong evidence suggesting that not only was he good at his job, but he was also well liked and respected by his supervisors, and had been earmarked for the job of a cable jointer upon completion of his apprenticeship. He gave evidence that he would have stayed with his employer for the remainder of his working life, unusual as that may be nowadays, and there was a clear and rigid structure he would have worked through to gain promotion. Such clear evidence enabled him to maximise compensation for his loss of earnings. Had this evidence not been obtained then the case may well have settled at a lower sum”.