Cyclist gets €27k for ambulance slide

A 37-year-old delivery man who was injured while he was being taken to hospital in an ambulance after falling off his mountain bike has been awarded €27,700 damages in the Circuit Civil Court.

The court heard yesterday that Stephen Burns suffered neck and back soft tissue injuries after the spinal board he was lying on allegedly slid away when the ambulance braked suddenly in March 2012.

Mr Burns said he had been cycling down a hill in the Bray area when he fell head-first, hit a rock, and temporarily lost consciousness.

He had been bleeding and his right eye had swollen. He had managed to walk down the hill, carrying his bike, and met a woman who called the ambulance.

Mr Burns, of The Pines, Ashbury Park, Sidmonton Rd, Bray, Co Wicklow, said he had felt no pain in his neck and back when the ambulance arrived.

He told Judge Alan Mahon he stepped into the ambulance, was placed on a stretcher bed, and his head was isolated by head blocks.

He claimed he was not wearing a neck collar when the ambulance had to stop suddenly to avoid a collision with an unidentified driver.

The court heard he was thrown forward and his head hit a partition.

Mr Burns sued the HSE and the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland. The court heard some liability was agreed and the case had been reduced to an assessment of the damages only.

The HSE alleged Mr Burns that was not wearing a helmet when he hit the rock.

Judge Mahon said the stop had been very violent and had caused Mr Burns’ injuries. Awarding him €27,700 damages, the judge said he was satisfied that the accident had been in no way caused by the ambulance driver.


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