We view Marcel’s case as being a bit of a game-changer. Often everyone always assumes that the motorcyclist is at fault in an accident, mainly because of his speed. In this instance, we fought long and hard to make it clear that speed was not the issue, it was the Defendant’s negligent driving. We were thrilled to be vindicated in our argument by the High Court judge presiding over the case.
So what happened to Marcel? He was overtaking a slow moving line of traffic when one of the cars in the traffic jam suddenly decided to pull out. The driver made to perform a U-turn and did so right into the path of our client. Marcel literally had no time to brake, and was catapulted over the Defendant’s car, across the road and into a ditch. His helmet came off as a result of the impact.
There were a number of witnesses at the scene, the majority of which did not recall seeing the driver of the car indicate his intention of suddenly pulling out of the traffic line. But what was certainly not in contention was the extent of Marcel’s injuries: a severe brain injury involving a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a subdural haematoma, contusions around the brain, a fracture of the skull, multiple soft tissue injuries and a blunt injury to his abdomen which has gone on to lead to hepatitis and pancreatitis. Marcel is no longer able to use his left arm and cannot walk independently.
Naturally, in the resulting case, the Defendant tried very hard to convince the court that he had in fact indicated for a full 30 seconds, contesting that Marcel was travelling far too fast. Given that the speed limit in question was 60 mph and Marcel was estimated to be going at 45, this argument didn’t fare too well. Our expertise in dealing with thousands of motorcycle claims has taught us that this is actually something that crops up a lot. Because bikes’ engines are exposed, there’s little or no soundproofing so people naturally assume that this big noisy engine they’re hearing is going “way too fast”, when oftentimes this is not the case at all. It’s this kind of assumption, this kind of anti-bike prejudice, that we’ve successfully battled against on many occasions.
No matter, the Defendant’s claim that he had indicated his intention to move was dismissed. The judge rightly read that it was a spur-of-the-moment decision that unfortunately had disastrous consequences for Marcel. The driver of the car was found 100% liable for Marcel’s injuries.
But before all this went to court, our more pressing concern was to see that Marcel was receiving the very best treatment in the meantime. That’s why we actively pursued some interim payments from his compensation claim to pay for Marcel to spend time in a specialist brain injury rehabilitation centre and also to find a home more suited to his changed needs, and to pay for adapting that home for his purposes. During the course of the litigation, we have managed to procure three interim payments in excess of £500,000 that have helped Marcel do just that.
Since the accident, Marcel been unable to make decisions about his claim on his own, so his uncle, Cadell Beasley, acts as his litigation friend. Furthermore, a professional deputy has been authorised by the Court of Protection to oversee his financial affairs.
Meanwhile, Marcel’s rehabilitation continues apace. He has spent a lot of time in a specialist brain injury unit but is soon to move into his specially adapted bungalow where he’ll be helped by two support workers at all times. Not to mention full rounds of physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, psychological therapy and occupational therapy. We’ve employed a case manager to co-ordinate all these different rehabilitation needs for Marcel.
And it’s working. We’re delighted to see that he is making great progress. His family is thrilled with how well he’s doing. It’s a long, difficult road for him but he’s not doing it alone and he has a tremendous support network behind him.