A Gulf War veteran who suffered life-changing injuries when he hit a pothole and was thrown from his motorcycle has won an undisclosed amount in compensation from the council responsible for the upkeep of the road.
The accident happened in February 2009, when Graham Mills, 45, rode his motorcycle through a puddle. The front wheel hit a deep pothole underneath the water, and he was thrown over the handlebars and onto the road. He narrowly avoided being hit by oncoming traffic.
Mr Mills suffered serious back injuries, including trapped nerves and compression, and was left unable to walk more than 20 metres even when using crutches. He subsequently underwent an operation on his back, which left him unable to run his communications business. After the business was forced to close down, he began to suffer from depression.
Mr Mills brought a claim for compensation against Devon County Council. It emerged that previous attempts to repair the pothole had failed, and that the Council had inspected it just one day before the accident but no remedial action was taken. This was in contravention of the Council’s own highway maintenance objectives.
After a two-year legal battle, the Council settled the claim for an undisclosed sum on the first day of the court hearing. It did not, however, admit liability for Mr Mills’s accident.