The Personal Injury team is acting for Mr Robert Hazeldean in defending a claim brought against him by Gemma Brushett.
Unfortunately, Mr Hazeldean had not felt able to instruct solicitors at the outset due to costs. He therefore tried to deal with the case as a litigant in person. The Claimant took advantage of this and has now sought almost £100,000 in costs. We are strongly resisting this as a total abuse of process, and are pleased to report that the court has listed this matter for a third occasion. The court has ordered that the Claimant pays our client’s costs of this third hearing.
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.”
Sadly, this is not the only uninsured defendant case that we are running. We believe that the law in this area urgently needs reforming.
Our client is reeling and taking some time to reflect on his options. He asks for privacy at this time. Any press enquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Hazeldean has, however, asked us to share his own thoughts on the matter.
Statement of Robert Hazeldean
Today finally brings to a close four years that have taken a great toll on my mental health. I am of course deeply disappointed with the outcome, reeling from the impact it will have on my life, and concerned by the precedent that it might set for other cyclists.
I am more grateful than I can say for the support of my wonderful girlfriend and my friends and family. I would not have got through this without them. I have also been extremely touched by the messages of support from strangers who have read about the case in the press.
I’d like to thank my lawyers for helping me understand and navigate the complexities of the legal system, and can only regret not having engaged them sooner, delayed as I was by my lack of legal knowledge and concern about the costs. I feel that most cyclists would not have appreciated the consequences of not taking the opportunity to put forward a counterclaim which meant that I was unable to rely on the legislation in the same way that the Claimant has to protect myself against a destructive costs award. This was not because I was not injured, but because I do not advocate the claim culture. Had I had legal representation at the time of preparing my defence, I would have taken those steps to protect myself.
I would urge other cyclists to take out insurance through British Cycling to help protect them from experiencing what I’ve gone through.
The case has cast a shadow over our new life in France and left our future uncertain. Covering the costs and the compensation is going to exceed £20,000 and will leave me bankrupt. I can only hope that the focus on this case highlights the vulnerability of cyclists, both physically and against the courts, and that it might help reform a legal system that appears to leave certain road users disproportionately exposed.
– Robert Hazeldean