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Cyclist hopes to make 'strict liability' legal history with High

Road.cc: Cyclist hopes to make 'strict liability' legal history with High Court case

Suing both passenger and driver of car after being 'doored' in London

Sarah Barth, May 12, 2013

A cyclist who was 'doored' by a car passenger is attempting to make legal history by suing both the driver and the passenger in the High Court for £200,000.

Kevin Fallon, 48, was on his way to work in 2010 when a door opened on him in Dalston, East London.

Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered bleeding to the brain and says he still suffers headaches, mood changes, and low energy. The injury has also increased his risk of developing epilepsy.

Mr Fallon hopes to have a change in the law to a policy of 'strict liability' under which the motorist, as the less vulnerable road user, would be obliged to prove that he or she was not the cause of the incident.

Although it's called 'strict' liability, the principle is in fact of 'presumed liability', in that the person in control of the more dangerous vehicle is presumed to be more likely to have caused a collision.

“There are only a handful of countries in Europe which do not have a policy of strict negligence and the UK is one of them,” financial analyst Mr Fallon, of Walthamstow told the Evening Standard, “It is a civil law, which would state that the motorist has to prove that he did not cause the crash.

“The person in the passenger side opened the door in my path.”

Just last month we wrote about how a law firm in Scotland had launched a campaign to have the country’s civil law changed to introduce a system of ‘strict liability’ liability in incidents involving motor vehicles and more vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

The firm says that introducing the system it proposes would meant that victims would receive compensation more quickly, the burden on the courts would be reduced, and road users’ attitudes would change, with a consequent improvement in safety.