Presumed Liability Case Study: Lynda Myles 

 


 On Thursday 28th April 2011, at about 07:50 hours, Craig Newton lost his life. 

He was fatally injured in a collision with a City of Edinburgh Council vehicle.  His bicycle was struck by the lorry and in all probability he fell underneath the wheels sustaining fatal injury.


Cycle Law Scotland represented family members including his mother and father.  They cannot understand why the Procurator Fiscal did not proceed with a criminal action but, regardless, CLS were instructed to represent their interests in a civil claim.  


As the Law stands we must establish how this accident happened.  The only two people who truly know how the accident happened are the driver and the deceased cyclist. In civil law a statement cannot be taken from the driver by the party blaming that driver. It may be the case that the driver simply did not see the cyclist and was unaware of his presence until he felt the bump. 


For Craig Newton’s family, they are now two years down the line.  Edinburgh City Council maintains that they do not believe their driver was at fault.  Accordingly, CLS have to instruct specialist experts to try to piece together from police reports and road layout, on balance of probability, how this accident occurred.  For the family, this is extremely hard and difficult.  They cannot get closure.  They are forced into pursuing a claim against the local authority for the loss of their son. In that process, they must prove the driver is at fault. The process is laborious and costly.


If presumed liability applied, then this case could have been settled within a matter of weeks following the accident.  There is no amount of compensation that will make up for the loss of a loved one but surely the process is stacked against those bereaved by the sudden loss of a close relative.  


Craig Newton was a single man just starting off in life.  He was a painter and decorator.  He had just started his own business.  He had parked his works van on the outskirts of Edinburgh so that he could get free parking and went into his van to remove his bicycle with the intention of making his way to work that morning.  He was 32 years of age.  Accidents involving HGVs and pedal cycles often result in catastrophic injury.  Sometimes, even basic things like fitting sensors onto lorries, which would alert drivers as to the presence of a cyclist, would be of enormous benefit. 


Lynda Myles, Craig’s mother, in particular remains traumatised by the loss of her son and wishes to do everything possible to improve cycle safety and encourage individual companies to fit basic sensors to HGV vehicles to avoid this type of catastrophic incident.

There is no doubt in fatal accidents where witness statements and evidence surrounding events is not entirely clear, the bereaved have an uphill struggle.   


All we can say is that an incident occurred at a junction in Edinburgh when both vehicles may have been turning left.  Both vehicles had been proceeding on Broughton Road Edinburgh and the incident occurred at East Clermont Street Edinburgh.

 

 

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