Great Britain

Cyclist who crashed into ‘phone zombie’ yoga teacher is left with £60k legal bill despite BOTH being to blame

A CYCLIST who knocked over a 'phone zombie' yoga teacher after she stepped into the road while staring at her mobile phone has been hit with a £60,000 court bill despite a judge finding both of them to be at blame.

Robert Hazeldean was returning from work in central London when he collided with pedestrian Gemma Brushett as she crossed a road near London Bridge.

Ms Brushett, 28, was knocked unconscious and suffered damage to her front teeth and facial scars, while garden designer Mr Hazeldean was also knocked out and hurt in the crash.

The court heard that Brushett, who works for a finance firm in the City as well as running yoga retreats, was one of a "throng" of people trying to cross the road at the start of rush hour when the accident occurred.

A judge found the pair "equally to blame" for the accident as Ms Brushett was looking at her phone, but awarded her £4,161.79 in damages because she was the only one to launch a court claim.

Judge Shanti Mauger told Central London County Court that Mr Hazeldean, who now lives in France, could have sued Ms Brushett in return, had he chosen to.

COURT BATTLE

But the judge has now added another £30,000 to Mr Hazeldean's bill for the mishap after ordering him to pay towards Ms Brushett's lawyers' bills to finally settle the case.

The order states: "The defendant do pay the sum of £30,000 to the claimant in full and final settlement of all outstanding costs matters between the parties."

His own lawyers' bills were about £25,000, taking his total bill for the case to about £60,000.

The controversial compensation ruling came in court last June and led to a massive increase in insurance applications by cyclists worried about facing the same sort of case as Mr Hazeldean.

Covering the costs and the compensation is going to leave me bankrupt

Robert Hazeldean

Speaking at the time, he said: "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 leave me bankrupt."

A fundraising campaign was launched by one of his pals, eventually raising over £60,000 to cover his bills - with the surplus going to international women's charity, Action Aid UK.

But in a statement after the costs settlement Mr Hazeldean said nothing would be left of the donations after his bills are paid.

PEDESTRIAN 'PANICKED'

During the trial, the court heard Mr Hazeldean collided with Ms Brushett at the junction of King William Street and Cannon Street in July 2015 as he rode through a green light.

She was looking at her mobile phone when crossing the road from east to west and only noticed Mr Hazeldean approaching at the last moment.

She "panicked" and tried to dodge back to a traffic island, but the cyclist, who had been travelling at between 10-15mph, swerved in the same direction and hit her.

Mr Hazeldean had sounded a loud airhorn attached to his Specialized roadbike, as well as shouting, swerving and braking in a bid to avoid the pedestrian.

Ruling following the trial, Judge Mauger said: "Ms Brushett and Mr Hazeldean were equally culpable in this accident and Mr Hazeldean, for whatever reason, hasn't made a claim and so only Ms Brushett is getting a payout."

She awarded Ms Brushett £4,161.79 in damages after saying that the 8mm scar she suffered to her lip did not wreck her "very attractive" appearance.

Afterwards, her lawyers said they were claiming close to £100,000 to cover the costs of the two-day trial, which the judge said "appeared to be disproportionate".

CCTV footage of a man kicking a cyclist off his bike in east London which has left him hospitalised in a critical condition