Woman cycling on footpath who fell after incident with car sees compensation increased by 300pc on appeal
A WOMAN who fractured her left elbow in a fall from her bicycle during an incident with a car exiting from a business premises has had a €9,000 award increased to €36,000 by the Court of Appeal.
While Patricia Moore should not have been cycling on the footpath, the driver of the car which emerged from the business premises must share the greater part of the blame for the accident, the appeal court said.
Ms Moore, a customer services advisor in a DIY store, of Castlegrange Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin, had sued the company which owned the van, Advanced Tyre Co, trading as Advanced Pit Stop. The defendant denied negligence.
The court heard she had been cycling on the path outside the Advanced Swords premises on May 2, 2013, because works were taking place on the roadway which reduced the number of lanes from two to one.
As she approached the Advanced premises, one of its cars was exiting from its car park. She said the driver of the car was looking to his left, while she was coming from the right, and listening to music with his window open.
As he emerged on to the footpath, across where she was about to travel, she shouted at him but he kept going, she said. She found herself having to take last minute evasive action by cycling round the front of the car.
In doing this, she fell heavily to the ground on her left elbow sustaining a serious injury which left her in plaster for several weeks.
The driver of the car maintained she was actually driving on the roadway and he had stopped well short of the kerb. He believed the reason she fell was because pillows she had on her back carrier caught his car when she tried to get on to the footpath out of the way of oncoming traffic.
The High Court awarded her €60,000 but reduced it to €9,000 on the basis she was 85pc liable for the accident.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine, on behalf of a three-judge appeal court, said the High Court erred in its approach to contributory negligence and she was only 40pc liable, thereby increasing the award to €36,000.
While Ms Moore should not have have been cycling on the path, her blameworthiness should be reduced by reason of the roadworks, she said. The greater blame lay with the car driver who saw her coming, she said.
"He was obliged to yield right-of-way to her even though she should not have been cycling on the footpath".