The personal injury team at Penningtons Solicitors LLP has recently settled a claim for Elizabeth Boyd of Tadley, Hampshire, in relation to the loss of her fiancé, Trevor Bird, who was killed in November 2008 by a hit and run driver who fled the scene.
Mr Bird was walking home through a residential area with his son, Peter, when he was hit by a vehicle driven by Jason Doyle. Mr Doyle's vehicle appeared to lose control and struck both Trevor and Peter Bird. From the evidence, it appeared that Mr Doyle’s vehicle struck Mr Bird again when he was lying on the ground and Mr Doyle drove away from the scene leaving him fatally injured.
In September 2009, after a lengthy police investigation, Jason Doyle was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and pleaded guilty. He admitted driving in excess of the speed limit and leaving the scene of the accident. The police also investigated Mr Doyle in relation to mobile phone, alcohol and drug use at the time of the accident.
Elizabeth Boyd was engaged to Trevor Bird, her long term partner, and they were both locally employed at AWE. She has been devastated by the loss of ‘the love of her life’ in such traumatic circumstances and her grief and trauma have been compounded by the fact that Jason Doyle did not try to assist Mr Bird after the impact and left the scene.
Ms Boyd brought a claim against Mr Doyle and his insurers in relation to the death of Mr Bird. Whilst liability for the accident and his death was admitted relatively quickly, Ms Boyd was devastated to find that the insurers tried to argue that her relationship with Mr Bird was not sufficient to meet the criteria to bring a claim. As her motivation was to seek justice for Mr Bird’s death rather than to benefit from any compensation, to find the insurers arguing about the nature of their relationship made her loss an even greater blow.
Mr Doyle was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and a seven year driving ban, a very small sentence given the severity and callousness of his actions. At the time, Ms Boyd expressed her disappointment at the limited sentences available to the judiciary for such offences.
She said: “A light went out of our lives on 15 November 2008 and our lives were shattered. Trevor was a fantastic fiancé, partner and friend to me and I was privileged to have him in my life for 15 years. He was well respected and loved by all who knew him, especially his work colleagues and friends, and we all miss him deeply. Our family will never get over our loss which is a life sentence for us. Mr Doyle will come out of prison free to rebuild his life but we will never be able to do this as there will always be someone missing.”
As a result of the insurers’ stance, the litigation has been long running and has only just settled.
Philippa Luscombe of Penningtons Solicitors LLP, head of the personal injury team, who represented Ms Boyd, commented: “The last three and a half years have been an extremely difficult time for Liz Boyd. She lost someone who was hugely important to her and with whom she was looking forward to spending her retirement. Trevor Bird was a well-known and popular man as well as a kind family man. It is a tragedy to have lost someone in such avoidable circumstances. That Mr Doyle was convicted and his insurers have now settled the compensation claim at least gives Liz some public acknowledgement of her loss but the process has not been easy and the prison sentence was very small compared to the circumstances.”
Contact: Philippa Luscombe
Related services: Personal injury