Motorbike Accident Claims
Motorcyclists are at approximately 50 times greater risk of being killed or seriously injured than car drivers in motorbike accident claims. This frightening statistic was included in a report prepared for the Department of Transport entitled, “Passion, Performance, Practicality: Motorcyclists’ Motivations and Attitudes to Safety”.
Motorcycle traffic increased by approximately 50% between 1996 and 2003 and now represents a larger proportion of the vehicles on our roads. While the number of motorcycles on our roads is significantly higher than they were 20 years ago motorcycles remain a vehicle that the majority of road users have no experience of riding. Unfortunately, this lack of awareness colours the perception of other road users and witnesses when accidents do occur and feeds into a common misconception that motorcyclists are aggressive drivers prone to speeding, a belief that often seems to be shared by the Police. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident it is crucial that your solicitors are familiar with this common problem and other issues that arise in motorcycle claims.
Case Study – Dual Expertise Secures Victory In Criminal Courts And Saves Civil Claim
In 2009 our client, David Conway, was proceeding along a main road when a car turned right across his path. David crashed into the side of the vehicle suffering severe injuries. The other driver alleged that Mr Conway had been travelling at excessive speed and that the accident was his fault.
The Police investigated and charged our client with driving without due care and attention. In support of this allegation they relied upon 7 witnesses who had not seen the accident but had heard a bike which sounded like it was travelling at high speed. No charges were brought against the driver of the vehicle which had turned across our client’s path. A successful criminal prosecution would have been a serious blow to the prospects of a successful claim for personal injury as the burden of proof in criminal proceedings is higher than in a civil claim and the other driver’s insurer sought to put the matter on hold until the outcome of the criminal case.
This is a common scenario in motorcycle accidents where claims are defended on the basis that the motorcyclist was speeding and it is not unusual for witnesses to give unreliable evidence as to speed.
We referred our client to Geoffrey Miller Solicitors (our sister practice, specialising in criminal motor defence) who successfully defended the criminal charges against him. We went on to show that Mr Conway was driving a bike with a modified sports exhaust that made his bike sound louder and faster and obtained engineering evidence showing that his speed could not have been at the levels claimed. On consideration of this evidence the other side conceded primary liability.
Please note that the way personal injury claims are funded will change from 01/04/2013. From this date success fees and after the event insurance premiums are no longer recoverable from the Defendant if the claim is successful and are payable by the Claimant from their damages.If you have been injured in an accident and wish to make a claim and do not want to have to pay up to 25% of your damages in success fees please contact us immediately.
Please be aware because of the bank holiday we will not be able to obtain insurance or take claims under the old regime (i.e. where no deductions are made from your damages) after 12pm on 28/03/2013