A cyclist has been awarded $350,000 in car accident compensation following an incident where he claimed an unknown driver knocked him off his bike. The collision resulted in the plaintiff suffering serious head injuries and problems with his spine, hands, wrists and knees.
According to the injured party, he was cycling downhill on Minyon Falls Road, Dorroughby, when the accident occurred. The road was in poor condition with several potholes, and the plaintiff said he was navigating indentations in the path when something forcefully shoved his bike from behind.
He went over the handlebars and was knocked unconscious with his face submerged in a water-filled pothole. A passing vehicle stopped to help him, with the driver stating the plaintiff was incoherent and confused due to his head injury.
The case created a number of challenges for the NSW District Court, as there was little evidence other than the plaintiff’s statements to suggest a motor vehicle was involved. Several witnesses arrived on the scene later, but none recalled seeing another car.
In cases where another driver is not identified, the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 stipulates that the Nominal Defendant must act as the defendant. For this particular example, proceedings were brought against NRMA Insurance.
Judge awards car accident compensation
The defendant challenged various parts of the plaintiff’s case, including the fact he did not mention another vehicle’s presence until some time after the accident. In fact, he at first said he must have fallen from his bike.
However, medical experts claimed the man had suffered serious head injuries that may have impaired his ability to recollect the incident at the time. According to the judge, there was no reason to disbelieve the plaintiff’s version of events, and the involvement of another vehicle was one of only a few likely scenarios.
The judge also relied upon one medical expert’s opinion that the cyclist’s head and spinal injuries were consistent with being flung from his bike, rather than simply falling off after hitting a pothole.
“On the balance of probabilities, I consider it was more probable than not, that the circumstances of the plaintiff’s injuries involved an unknown motor vehicle striking the rear wheel of the plaintiff’s bicycle from behind, thereby causing the plaintiff to be thrown forward onto the roadway ahead,” said District Court Judge Leonard Levy.
The $350,000 compensation amount had been agreed in advance between the parties in the event of a judgement for the plaintiff.