Cyclist paralysed in crash sues Planet X insurers for £10m over forks that 'sheared in two'

Insurers deny liability but Daniel Gordon's lawyers point to the Consumer Protection Act for compensation

Clock12:54, Thursday 30th November 2023
Gordon was riding a Planet X Tempest gravel bike

© Planet X

Gordon was riding a Planet X Tempest gravel bike

A cyclist who was left paralysed when his carbon forks snapped mid-ride is suing the insurers of the bike’s manufacturer, Planet X, for £10m.

Daniel Gordon, a British junior doctor, suffered life-changing spinal cord injuries in August 2020 when he crashed near Inverness on one of his first outings on his new gravel bike, a £2,300 Planet X Tempest.

He was going down a grass slope at 25km/h when his forks, sourced by Planet X from a company in China, “sheared in two”, according to a statement from his lawyers.

The crash left him paralysed from the waist down, with Gordon dependent on a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He is now seeking financial compensation to the amount of £10m, to account for loss of earnings and the expenses his injuries will entail for the rest of his life.

Gordon is unable to sue Planet X directly, given the Sheffield-based company went into insolvency earlier this year, although it has since been bought out by Winning Garments Ltd. Instead, he is pursuing his claims against its insurers: Arch Insurance (UK) Limited and Chubb European Group SE.

“The compensation claimed for will cover the financial losses and expenses that Dr Gordon is likely to incur in the future as a result of the life-changing injury he sustained,” said Julian Chamberlayne, a partner at the law firm Stewarts, who is representing Gordon.

Gordon’s lawyers will argue that Planet X supplied a defective bike. However, the two insurers have denied any liability in a joint statement.

“Planet X purchased the forks from a reputable supplier and there was evidence of the testing of the relevant products to appropriate standards, on which matters Planet X reasonably relied,” they stated.

“The forks were manufactured by a Chinese company which supplies ‘the said forks’ to ‘many brands of bicycle in the UK and elsewhere'.”

Chamberlayne hit back at that argument, adding: “Consumers, like Dr Gordon, who are injured by defective products are meant to be able to rely on the Consumer Protection Act to easily recover compensation, without having to prove exactly what caused the product to fail. Unfortunately, the defence to this claim shows how in practice the retailer or their insurers often try to deny liability in a multitude of ways.”

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