Have you been involved in a motorcycle accident in the last 3 years? Do you want to make a claim for compensation for any injuries that you have sustained?
Motorbike accidents are an increasingly common occurrence on the UK’s roads. Injuries sustained from these accidents can vary from mild damage to the driver and vehicle to the bike being written off, and the driver sustaining severe injuries which can impact on their quality of life. It is important to understand that the law has developed in such a way to ask to hold people responsible for causing accidents. If someone has been injured in a motorbike accident, there are avenues to explore in attempting to minimise the damage suffered from the incident. Contact our dedicated team of personal injury solicitors today for help.
Motorbike drivers like drivers of other road vehicles e.g. cars, lorries etc. must accept a degree of risk in taking to the road. Accidents can and do happen. However as with other road vehicle users, motorbike drivers are entitled to expect that other road users will conduct themselves in such a way as to reduce the likelihood of an accident taking place. If they fail to do so, they will be held to account.
What kinds of options are available?
Where someone suffers a motorbike accident, they will normally attempt to make a personal injury (PI) claim for any damage suffered. This is not the same as a motorbike driver or other road user being charged with an offence in ‘driving without due care and attention’. This is a criminal offence, while a PI claim is a civil claim. Private parties can only pursue the latter option while the former is the responsibility of the police and prosecution authorities.
What does bringing a PI claim for a motorbike accident involve?
Like most kinds of accident claims, anyone who is attempting to bring a complaint before a court will need to satisfy certain requirements:
1. That they were owed what is called a ‘duty of care’; and
2. That the duty of care owed to them was breached – the defender failed to observe the standard of care of the reasonable driver in his situation and was negligent
How to show that there was a duty of care?
All road users regardless of whether they drive a motorbike, a car, a lorry or even a minivan, are required by law to take reasonable care when using the roads to avoid doing anything or failing to do anything that they can reasonably foresee as being likely to cause another party injury. This is they duty of care, and it exists by virtue of the fact that drivers actually make use of the roads.
In the UK road users duty of care is to drive with ordinary care and skill. The law does not expect drivers to be able to command the roads as well as a Formula 1 driver or any other extreme. The law only stipulates that drivers use the roads while using the care and skill expected of an ordinary driver.
How to show that there was a breach of the duty of care?
This is often the crucial part of any PI claim, including claims for motorbike accidents. To be able to show that a party breached their duty of care is to show that they were not using the roads in a way that demonstrates the ordinary level of skill and care that is expected. Our no win no fee* team demonstrate a breach of a duty of care means that a party is shown to be negligent.
Generally speaking when attempting to show that a party has not exercised the level of carer and skill required of them by law, it is best to be able to point to a rule and to be able to show how that rule was broken. In terms of accidents on the roads the Highway Code is often one of the most useful resources in demonstrating negligence, as all road users are expected to observe its terms. It is not unusual that a breach of the Highway Code has resulted in a PI claim for a motorbike accident being sustained.
What kind of compensation will be available?
If it can be shown that a road user failed to observe their duty of care which has resulted in some kind of damage or injury, the next step in a road accident claim is to consider the level of compensation available. Motor vehicles, including motorbikes are themselves hazards on the roads. As a result all road drivers are expected, by law, to be covered by ‘third party liability insurance’. This is a particular kind of vehicle insurance that is available to pay for any financial compensation that is being claimed by a party in a personal injury case, following from a motorbike accident.
If a motorbike accident causes someone harm, or damages their property e.g. their bike then the third party insurance will normally cover this. When dealing with damage to a motorbike the compensation that will be awarded would normally cover the cost of repairing it or its monetary value if it is damaged beyond repair. It may also be able to seek compensation for the cost of some of the kit of a motorcyclist if damaged following an accident, but this will depend on the circumstances.
Basic points to remember
PI claims are very detail oriented types of court action. Their success or failure will depend entirely on the evidence available. Individuals hoping to bring a claim for a motorbike accident must be prepared to provide as much information as possible in support of their claim. Claimants must be able to answer the following kinds of questions:
1. What are the facts of the situation?
2. What happened as a result of the accident?
3. Did I need hospital care?
4. Did I take pictures of the incident?
5. What damage was done to my vehicle?
Evidence must be available to substantiate the answers given to the questions mentioned above e.g. photographs, medical records etc. All of this information should be made available to a specialist PI solicitor at the earliest opportunity, to allow them time to plan how best to deal with the claim.
* other costs could be payable