A pedestrian who was struck by a van and dragged to the ground has been awarded damages after suffering injuries to his foot.
Michael Thorpe, 52, a former teacher, was stood waiting to cross the road and was pulled to the ground after the passing van clipped his rucksack as it drove past.
He had been stood on a narrow central platform between a tramway and road in Sheffield when the van veered too close and struck him, before driving on.
The van was never traced, but Mr Thorpe was able to pursue a claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) – an independent body that compensates people who are involved in accidents with uninsured or untraced drivers – after contacting the personal injury team at Hudgell Solicitors.
Speaking about the day of the accident, September 12, last year, Mr Thorpe said: “I just remember it was my parents’ wedding anniversary so I made the journey on the tram from my house in Sheffield to Hillsborough.
“I normally get off the tram at the front but this time I got off at the back, and I walked around the back of it. Hillsborough is a terribly congested place with buses, cars, vans, bikes and people, and it was really congested at that time.
“I was stood on the narrow platform, and as I turned left to look for traffic, a small white van came from my right and cut round the corner. The crossing is on a bend in the road. The van must have taken the corner really tight because it pulled my backpack and dragged me down to the ground.”
Mr Thorpe remained largely on the platform and was fortunately not dragged into the road and the path of the traffic.
He added: “I just remember being twisted round and I thought my leg was going to be run over.
The van drove off and despite Mr Thorpe reporting the accident and requesting CCTV from the scene, the van was never traced by police.
“I jumped up as I was embarrassed and then I suddenly realised I had hurt my leg and elbow. Someone on the other side of the road came up and asked if I was alright and I got myself to the other side of the road,” he said.
“I started to go a bit blind because of the pain and I realised I couldn’t walk. I think the initial shock made me able to walk to get to a safe place but then that wore off, and I just kind of sat on the ground thinking ‘what has just happened?
“It was all a bit traumatic really.”
Three fractures to foot led to weeks in cast and boot
Mr Thorpe’s parents later drove him to the Northern General Hospital’s A&E department after he realised he couldn’t walk on his own. Doctors did not initially find anything wrong after x-raying the right foot, and sent him home with crutches and a bandage.
However, they contacted him three days later to say another person had spotted a fracture on his x-ray and they asked him to return to hospital, where he had a cast on his right foot which stayed on for around seven weeks.
At his check-up when it was removed, a second scan revealed two further fractures, and he was given a boot to wear, which he continued to wear for several weeks.
He said: “I had to wear a cast for six to seven weeks and then had a special boot on for several more weeks. I was very wary of going out without it and I had to undergo physiotherapy as well.
“I would say it’s 95 per cent better now, but I did really work hard on the physio exercises as I was determined it would get better, I didn’t want to be left unable to use my foot properly.”
Mr Thorpe said he believes that Langsett Road, in Hillsborough, where the accident occurred, is a dangerous area for pedestrians.
“I think that the interchange is renowned for accidents, one of my relatives has also been involved in an accident here as a pedestrian,” he said.
“There are trams coming along where the cars are, it’s a very busy place. It was very unfortunate for me that this driver tried to cut through the lights quicker than he should have done.
“It takes a lot to knock me down as I am a tall person, but he was just too close to the kerb. The platform is only about as wide as your feet, so it is quite narrow, if it had been an elderly person it could have been much worse.”
Claim through Motor Insurance Bureau secured injury compensation
Andy Uridge, personal injury specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This accident had a very negative impact on Mr Thorpe’s life and was a very distressing incident which could have been so much worse.
“It’s always very difficult when you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured or untraced vehicle, however, with the help of the Motor Insurance Bureau we’ve been able to help Mr Thorpe seek damages which he deserves and is entitled to, and which go some way to compensating him for the huge inconvenience and distress he has suffered through no fault of his own.”