The relatively high speed, low visibility and lack of driver protection mean that motorcyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries in a road accident. Serious orthopaedic injuries are common and can result in succesful motorcycle accident claims.
The most common scenario giving rise to motorcycle accident claims is a collision with another vehicle, and in those cases the motobike injury claim is directed to the insurers of that vehicle (or if no insurers to the Motor Insurers Bureau).
In other cases there may be no other vehicle involved and the accident was caused by the condition of the highway or the presence of an obstruction on it.
The Highway Authority (usually the Local Authority) is responsible for maintaining the fabric of the road. If it fails to do so and potholes or other defects arise as a result, then if those defects cause an accident the Authority may be liable.
If the road surface is made dangerous by ice and snow then the Highway Authority may be liable for resulting accidents if they are not able to show that they had – and carried out – a proper system for gritting.
The highway may become dangerous by spillages or leakages. A landmark case in 2003 paved the way for a claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau in motorike injury cases arising from oil spillages, the principle being that the MIB have to meet claims against untraced motorists, and that a large diesel spillage is likely to have been caused by the negligence of an untraced driver.
Recent Motorcycle Accident Claims Case Studies
Mr H was a hard working security operative. He and his wife both worked full time and they were planning to start a family.
He was riding his motorbike through a junction in Finchley when a car driver cut across his path into a side road without looking and into collision with Mr H, who fell under his bike. He suffered serious chest injuries and was airlifted to hospital where he remained in intensive care for several days until he was able to breathe again unassisted. As well as fractures to the chest wall he sustained post traumatic stress disorder from this near death experience and a bad fracture to the wrist of the dominant hand which required metalwork fixation surgery.
Mr H returned to work after a few weeks and was promoted to managerial position where he was not required to do doorman work, but was unable to cope with the demands of that job and instead sought less stressful non frontline security work. He was not able to lift and carry his new born baby and family life was very restricted.
He had four further operations, three to the wrist and one to the chest, over the following two years. By that time he was still in security work but avoiding confrontational work.
Liability was admitted early on but the defendant’s insurers contested the value of the claim. Court proceedings were issues, witness statements were served, experts’ reports were obtained by both sides in orthopaedics, cardiothoracic surgery and psychiatry, and the case was listed for trial.
The claim was valued on the basis that Mr H would continue to earn less than his full earnings potential because he was physically and psychologically unable to return to door security work; in addition there were claims for the care provided by his wife, for the damage to his bike gear, and for the cost of future private medical treatment.
Mr H’s case was settled shortly before trial in December 2012 when, having earlier rejected an offer of £60,000, he accepted an improved offer of £90,000.
Mr C, an Italian man working in a 5 star London hotel was riding a moped home from work at night in Central London in 2009. He was driving along a straight road. There was a minicab ahead and to his right, turning into a side road. As he approached, the car failed to give way and pulled out into his path, colliding with him and causing serious injuries.
This was his version of events and it appears straightforward. However, Mr C speaks poor English, and the police officer attending the scene recorded a different version of events in his pocket book, quoting Mr C as saying that he himself emerged from a side turning to the left of the main road. The driver of the minicab agreed that Mr C came from that side turning and blamed him for causing the accident. There were no independent witnesses.
We believed Mr C’s version of events and so set about obtaining supporting evidence to show that he could not and would not have been in the side road, and that the defendant emerged from the side turning to the right of the main road. Liability was strongly denied and it was necessary to issue High Court proceedings, but eventually the defendants conceded liability and the case was settled for about £400,000.
What you should do if you or someone you know has been injured in a cycling or motorbike accident
Whether or not the other party is insured and because the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) have very strict time limits, it is very important that the following steps are taken after any accident:
- Take down the details of the other party at the scene, including name, address, telephone, insurance details and vehicle registration number.
Report the matter to the police immediately. If for any reason this is not possible, report the accident in person to a police station as soon as you can (and get a police reference number) .
- Take details of any other party and any witnesses.
- Contact your own insurers, if relevant.
What you should do next?
On contacting us you will speak in confidence to a member of our personal injury team who will ask you specific details about your motorcycle injury including where and when it took place. It is helpful to the motorcycle accident claims process if you can provide us with as much information as possible, including any relevant pictures of the injury, pictures of where the injury took place, details of any witnesses and reports of any medical treatment you had as a result of the motorcycle injury.
We will then be able to advise you on whether or not you can make motorcycle accident claims for compensation.
Written by Stuart Kightley