Cyclist To Pay Up To £100,000 After Hitting Woman Who Stepped Into Road On Her Phone
A cyclist who knocked over a yoga teacher after she stepped into the road while looking at her phone has been ordered to pay what could amount to £100,000 ($126,000) in compensation and court costs.
Garden designer Robert Hazeldean is set to make the pay out for damages and court costs after being sued by Gemma Brushett, 28.
But Judge Shanti Mauger said that Mr Hazeldean could have sued pedestrian Ms Brushett in return had he chosen to, as she was 'equally to blame for the accident'.
The pair were both knocked unconscious and Ms Brushett, from Kent, suffered damage to her front teeth and facial scars when Mr Hazeldean crashed into her on July 20, 2015.
Mr Hazeldean was returning from work in central London to his then home in Archway when he collided with Ms Brushett as she crossed a busy junction at the north end of London Bridge.
She subsequently launched a bid for compensation, blaming Mr Hazeldean, who now lives in southern France, for the accident - despite Judge Shanti Mauger calling him 'a calm and reasonable road user' and adding that Ms Brushett 'was looking at her phone' when she walked into the road.
The court was told how Mr Hazeldean had come through a green traffic light, sounded a loud air horn and was shouting before he swerved and braked in a bid to avoid the pedestrian.
After putting in the claim, Ms Brushett was awarded a payout, despite Judge Mauger finding that she was equally to blame for the accident, and could have been sued herself by Mr Hazeldean.
At Central London County Court, Judge Mauger awarded her £4,161.79 ($5,273) in damages after saying that the 8mm scar she suffered to her lip did not wreck her 'very attractive' appearance.
But she said Mr Hazeldean, who now lives in France, would also have to foot most of the bill for the two-day court case, estimated at around £100,000.
This is an amount that he claims will leave him 'bankrupt' which led to a friend setting up a GoFundMe page to help with the legal fees and compensation.
A brief statement on the outcome of today's hearing to decide costs and damages. Thank you to everyone for your kind messages.
- Robert Hazeldean #cycling #cyclist @LeviSolicitors pic.twitter.com/wzrfW1lOzH
- Robert Hazeldean (@RobHazeldean) June 20, 2019
The judge said the costs 'appeared to be disproportionate', but added that Ms Brushett had won her claim for damages meaning Mr Hazeldean should pay her lawyers' bills.
The judge went on: "Ms Brushett and Mr Hazeldean were equally culpable in this accident and Mr Hazeldean, for whatever reason, hasn't made a claim and so only Ms Brushett is getting a payout."
Ruling on the amount in damages that Ms Brushett will receive, the judge said the scar to her lip had left her feeling self-conscious at times.
But she added: "It seems to me that, objectively, she still presents as a very attractive young woman."
The court heard that Ms Brushett, who works for a finance firm in the City as well as running yoga retreats, 'panicked' and tried to dodge back to a traffic island, but the cyclist, who had been travelling at between 10-15mph, swerved in the same direction and hit her.
The judge explained that 'cyclists must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways'.
Emma Farrell, head of the Personal Injury team, said: "If Mr Hazeldean had been insured, the Claimant's legal costs would have been limited to a mere £6,690.
"If he had come to us sooner, we would have advised him to enter a counterclaim given that he has been left with permanent scarring, both physically and mentally. He would then have had protection under the law against a large costs order."
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