Widow of bicycle owner slams council bosses after £1.3m authorized victory

A WIDOW who received a £1.3m authorized battle over her husband’s dying claimed she needed to take motion after council bosses handled her with ‘absolute defiance’.

Katrina Ronald, 55, took motion towards Perth & Kinross Council after husband William was fatally struck by a bin lorry whereas biking.

The incident sparked a four-year dispute after the native authority insisted the bicycle owner was 100% accountable for the accident and his personal dying.

However final month Katrina and her three daughters received a uncommon civil trial after a jury dominated the bin lorry driver did shoulder blame and that the Ronald household ought to be awarded damages.

Katrina Ronald

Katrina from Kelty, Fife now hopes her public battle – and victory – will encourage different victims, survivors and bereaved households to by no means hand over of their pursuit for solutions.

She mentioned: “I actually couldn’t care much less about compensation as I’ve my very own means to dwell – I raised a authorized motion to get solutions.

“I actually assume the council would have achieved extra if their lorry killed a canine as an alternative of my husband.”

William, 46, died on 25 Could 2018 close to the village of Cleish in Fife after he rounded a blind bend on his bicycle and collided with a bin lorry.

The previous RAF veteran suffered critical accidents and was trapped underneath the car however he handed away regardless of the efforts of medics.

Police investigated the crash however prosecutors dominated out any felony motion towards the lorry driver or Council.

Katrina mentioned this choice then sparked a wall of silence from officers on all sides.

She mentioned: “I felt like everybody was saying William, somebody who devoted his life to his nation, didn’t matter.

“With no prosecution the council dug their heels in, handled us with absolute defiance and principally mentioned ‘Your husband is 100% accountable so go away’.

“Councils, police and fiscals… all of the communication dried up. They reached their very own conclusions and that was that.

“It made me sick with anger however as an alternative of feeling brow-beaten and rejected it truly fired me up extra.”

In 2019, one yr after the tragedy, Katrina teamed up with Digby Brown Solicitors and commenced constructing a authorized case.

Over time, negotiations with Perth & Kinross Council broke down – on one event the Council’s insurance coverage firm even didn’t attend a scheduled assembly which solely infected the sense of defiance.

Katrina’s civil motion was later escalated to a jury trial on the Courtroom of Session in Edinburgh – the best civil court docket within the nation.

After listening to proof for 4 days jurors concluded that whereas William did play a component within the accident they agreed the bin lorry driver was positively accountable as nicely.

William was deemed to be 58% because of taking the bend too rapidly with the bin lorry driver being 42% accountable because of their positioning on the highway.

The proportion of blame – often called contributory negligence – means Katrina and her three daughters Eden, Concord and Honey will see their £1.3m compensation deducted by 58% to mirror William’s portion of duty, leaving them with round £550,000.

Katrina added: “I couldn’t settle for that somebody would lay 100% of the blame at William’s ft so for me the court docket case was not about proving William was proper however about proving the council was mistaken.

“And we did that. We now have a black and white ruling to show the council was mistaken of their argument and I really feel vindicated for that.

“Greater image although, Perth & Kinross Council have to take an extended, onerous have a look at themselves and their insurance policies round coping with bereaved households as a result of the best way they handled us was frankly inhuman and is definitely what sparked this entire course of.

“From day one they didn’t present a thread of empathy however I wasn’t going to simply meekly bow down as a result of me, the women and William deserved higher.

“My youngest daughter, who was seven-years-old when her dad died, needed to know the specifics of how he died.

“I didn’t need to be ready the place my solely reply is ‘I don’t know’ and I actually didn’t need to be ready the place I needed to inform her ‘Properly, I may have tried to get solutions however I didn’t strive’.

“To anybody else on the market who has misplaced somebody or is caught up in these sorts of instances – maintain going.

“Ignore the naysayers. Ignore each wee thought that tells you it’s too onerous or it’s not value it as a result of it’s.

“Take no matter ache and anger you’ve and use it to encourage you and sharpen your pondering.

“You’ll get the reality and solutions you want. You’ll get your justice.”

Innes Laing, Accomplice at Digby Brown Solicitors in Kirkcaldy, led the authorized motion that helped the Ronald household safe solutions.

He mentioned: “Civil trials are extraordinarily uncommon as most instances are settled out of court docket by way of negotiations – I feel lower than two-per-cent of non-public damage actions truly find yourself in entrance of a sheriff or decide.

“I’m genuinely moved by the sustained drive, power, dignity and endurance proven by Katrina and her kids as a result of it’s not simple to carry quick for therefore lengthy.

“Katrina can also be fully proper – all bereaved households deserve solutions and empathy and I hope others on the market, from victims to accountable third events, be aware of the teachings from this uncommon however extraordinarily vital authorized motion.”

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