The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for a brain injured cyclist who suffered severe injuries due to the negligence of a lorry driver.
On November 4th, 2011, thirty-one year old Mary Bowers was cycling to work at the News International building in Wapping, East London, where she was a promising young journalist for The Times. Just ninety metres from her workplace, Mary stopped when she encountered red light on Dock Street.
As she waited for the lights to change, a 33 tonne Lynch Haulage aggregate lorry pulled up behind her. The driver of the lorry was participating in a hands-free phone conversation at the time, and he neglected to fully engage the handbrake. Tragically, the lorry rolled forward and crushed Mary beneath its wheels.
Mary was rushed to hospital by ambulance suffering from a severed artery, two broken legs, a punctured lung, a broken pelvis and a broken arm. She was subsequently diagnosed with a severe brain injury. In November 2013 she was transferred to a residential rehabilitation centre in Brentwood, Essex, but remains in a minimally conscious state.
The driver of the lorry – Petre Beiu – was convicted of careless driving at Snaresbrook Crown Court in December 2012. He was fined £2,700 and disqualified from driving for eight months. Following Beiu´s conviction, Mary´s father – Peter – claimed compensation for a brain injured cyclist from Beiu´s insurance company.
Liability for Mary´s injuries was admitted and an undisclosed settlement of compensation was negotiated. However, as the claim for compensation for a brain injured cyclist had been made on behalf of somebody unable to represent themselves, the settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Mary´s best interests.
The approval hearing took place at the High Court in London, where Mr Justice Supperstone heard how, on the day of the accident, Mary had been wearing a cycling helmet and a high-visibility jacket, and that she had remained in a designated cycling lane before moving into the cyclist stopping box at the traffic lights.
The judge was told that the undisclosed settlement of compensation for a brain injured cyclist would be used to provide Mary with a private bungalow at the Brentwood rehabilitation centre and to pay for the care and therapy she will need for the rest of her life. Judge Supperstone had no hesitation in approving the settlement.
Speaking after the approval hearing, Mary´s father told reporters: “The impact of Mary’s injuries has been devastating to her – her career was flourishing and she had her whole life ahead of her. We are relieved that now she will have access to vital funds which will help go toward specialist treatment to help and support her through her ongoing rehabilitation.”