Wednesday, June 16, 2010
A POLICEMAN left crippled by an accident just outside St Albans has been cleared of blame for his injuries.
Alexander Kotula, 27, of Norris Close in London Colney, faces a lifetime in a wheelchair following a collision in September 2006 at a roadworks site in Park Street when the-then cyclist was knocked over by a passing lorry.
Mr Kotula, who suffered post traumatic amnesia but denies riding the bike along a pedestrian corridor through the works, blames poor safety measures for the accident and over the past couple of weeks he has been fighting a claim for millions of pounds worth of damages at London’s High Court.
On Tuesday, Mr Kotula was told by a top judge that he would get 100 per cent of the assessed damages from EDF Energy Networks and its contractors, Morrison Utility Services Ltd and Birch Utilities Ltd, who all admitted their failure to maintain a pedestrian passage of one-metre width through the works.
On Tuesday Judge Simon Brown heaped all of the blame for Mr Kotula’s injuries on the three companies.
He said: “The defendants were wholly responsible for this accident in laying out a very hazardous multi-layered trap of a narrow path on a curve with kerb across it”.
During the trial, the companies claimed that Mr Kotula was partly responsible for the accident because he either negligently cycled on the pavement and through the street works, or carelessly walked through it.
But the judge said that he considered it more likely that Mr Kotula had dismounted by the time of his fall, as it would have taken an “extraordinary skilled” cyclist to safely cycle through such a narrow passage.
Mr Kotula will receive an interim payment of £50,000 while lawyers attempt to agree on the total amount of the damages payout.