Widow: Cash can’t replace loss of husband

editorial image
Have your say

The family of a Moulton Seas End cyclist who died after he was fatally injured in a road traffic collision are finally looking to the future after being awarded “an undisclosed sum” in a legal battle for compensation.

David Hall (58) had been cycling from work at the BT Exchange in Moulton and was just minutes from his home, when he was involved in a collision with a grey Chevrolet driven by Joseph Strong.

However, the family was shocked after Strong’s motor insurers tried to argue that Mr Hall was responsible for his own death – even though the defendant had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving at a hearing last December.

The impact happened on the B1357 Loosegate Road at around 5.30pm on February 1 last year.

Mr Hall, a grandfather of five, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

His family has been represented by Tony Hannington, a Partner with Lime Solicitors, and the out of court settlement which will be paid by Strong’s insurers.

Commenting on the settlement, David’s widow, Vera Hall, said: “I have mixed emotions because whilst there is no doubt that the settlement will now mean I have a degree of financial stability, the reality is that no amount of money can ever compensate for the loss of my husband.

“I’m trying very hard to rebuild my life, but it’s the little things that I miss the most, like a cuddle or words of reassurance from David when I’ve had a bad day.”

Vera, 57, a health care worker based at Boston Pilgrim Hospital, had been married to David for 37 years. She said: “We met when I was just 18 years old and we were both living in Barking, London. David had worked for BT most of his life and he transferred when we moved up to Lincolnshire around ten years ago.

“We had been planning ahead and wanted to enjoy our retirement here.

“We had so many plans for the future but that has now been taken away from me and nothing will fill the hole in my life left by his death.”

In January this year, a judge at Lincoln Crown Court sentenced Strong to a 12-month driving ban and a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

The country lane where the collision occurred had long been recognised as a ‘cut through’ used by many motorists taking a short cut to Spalding and Boston.

Following Mr Hall’s death, the speed limit on this section of road where the collision occurred has been reduced to 50mph and has been further dropped to 40mph on the approach to the village.

Following the conclusion of the criminal prosecution, Mrs Hall’s legal team sought to conclude the civil claim for damages and provide financial compensation for the loss of Mr Hall who was the family’s main breadwinner.

However, as Tony Hannington from Lime Solicitors explains, the defendant’s insurers were initially reticent to admit liability.

“We had hoped and expected that following the evidence at crown court which stated that Mr Strong’s vehicle had crossed over the central white line, together with his guilty plea, would lead to a swift settlement of the civil claim.

“Mrs Hall and her family were therefore understandably shocked and upset, when the defendant’s motor insurers tried to argue contributory negligence – in effect that David was partly responsible for his own death.

“Our investigating team then had the task of re-interviewing witnesses and, after further negotiations with the defendants, they finally agreed to back down and settle in full with no blame attached to David. This was an important issue for the family as David was a completely innocent victim.”

Mrs Hall added: “It was so distressing when the insurers suggested David might have been partly to blame. I was so angry.

“Didn’t they think I’d been through enough without adding insult to injury? We’ve had to fight hard for justice but now I’m just relieved that the legal battle is over.

“The settlement will not turn back the clock but hopefully we can now start to move on with our lives.”