18 January 2016
Cyclist Awarded £100k Settlement After Crash Leaves him with ‘Life-Changing’ Injuries
A cyclist left with life-changing injuries after he was knocked off his bike has been awarded a £100,000 settlement.
Heath Marshall, 48, was at a junction waiting to turn when a motorbike collided with him and sent him flying into the road.
The father-of-four suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull, but caused the most lasting damage to his right leg with the knee cap effectively ‘ripped off.’
He was rushed to hospital and following discharge prescribed regular physiotherapy, but says learning to cope with the long-term effects has been the hardest part.
Prior to the accident in January 2014 on the A4097 in Lea Marston, Sutton Coldfield, Mr Marshall was working as a mechanic – the only job he had known which he has since been forced to quit.
Despite three operations, his knee is still extremely weak and he can no longer easily crouch or kneel.
He has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, triggered by situations he finds stressful such as being behind the wheel.
He said: “I could barely move my knee to start with, I had to have help with everything.
“Physiotherapy has helped, but it will never be as strong as it was and I’m conscious it could go at any time.
“Before the accident I used to do 30 miles a day on the bike. I loved the feeling and the freedom of it.
“It's hard sitting around doing nothing. This is the longest I’ve been off work in my life.”
Mr Marshall lived with partner Marie and their two young daughters in a caravan in Lea Marston, a temporary move while they saved for a house, but where they have now been for the last four years.
The couple of almost 18 years were also finally looking forward to tying the knot, but had to cancel the big day they had planned because of his injuries.
He said he has had dark days, including when a criminal trial against the motorcyclist collapsed after witnesses failed to turn up to court.
“It’s been an absolutely awful experience. I nearly gave up at times, but it’s not in my nature,” he said.
“We have had to start again, but we’ve had good friends and family around us and that has helped immeasurably.”
Mr Marshall, who now works part-time as a park ranger, launched a civil action against the motorcyclist which recently settled out of court for £100,000.
He says the payout will finally allow him to focus on the future, including moving to a new home, retraining for a new career and taking daughters, Scarlett, 10, and Heather, seven, on a much-needed holiday.
He added: “For the first time in two years we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We have options, that’s what the money has done.
“I tell everyone to be careful on the roads now. It’s not like a video game where you get endless lives, if you hurt someone or get hurt, you are going to have to carry that around with you for the rest of your life.“
Christopher Baxendale, a personal injury specialist at law firm Slater and Gordon, said: “This case shows just how easily accidents can happen on the roads and the importance of being aware of cyclists.
“That split second has forever changed Mr Marshall’s life and forced him to give up a job and a hobby that he loved.
“Although nothing can change that, this money will help him get back on track and start to build a new life for himself and his family.”