Motorcycle accident claims
Making a motorcycle accident compensation claim
For many years Clarke Willmott has helped bikers who have been seriously injured in road traffic accidents, and supported the families of bikers who sustained fatal injuries.
Our dedicated team understands all aspects of motorbike accidents. Some of our lawyers are experienced bikers. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident please contact us as soon as possible to see if we can help you.
To find out how we can help you if you have had a motorbike accident, call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.
How do motorcycle accidents happen?
When a motorcycle is involved in a road traffic accident, often the biker is the one who comes off worse, and sometimes much worse than people in other types of vehicle. The most recent statistics show that for a single year there were 18,620 motorcycle user casualties, and 6,050 bikers were killed or seriously injured on our roads. Some research demonstrates that for every mile ridden, a biker is 40 times more likely to be killed in an accident than a car driver. Motorcyclists are uniquely vulnerable on the roads.
There are lots of different causes of motorbike accidents and bikers can often be the victim of very specific dangers.
For claims of this type it is necessary to have evidence that another person, company or organisation was “negligent”. Negligence is the term the law uses, but put simply it means that someone else must be at least partly to blame for the accident.
Some examples of negligence are:
- Speeding, or just driving too quickly depending on road conditions.
- Not being observant – if you ought to have been seen but another driver has not done so.
- Distracted driving – this is an increasing cause of accidents, using mobile phones being a particular danger.
- Not sticking by the rules of the road – for example not obeying traffic lights or give way signs.
- Failing to take account of road conditions – rain, snow, ice and mud on the road all mean drivers should be more careful.
- Drink or drug driving – this impairs ability to drive and is a major cause of accidents.
- Driving defective vehicles – if an accident happens because brakes are wearing thin or tyres have inadequate tread – this can be negligent.
In accidents involving motorcycles there are additional reasons why other people might be negligent, including:
- Spillages on the road which have not been cleared up appropriately.
- Motorists filtering and failing to see the presence of a motorcyclist.
- Potholes and other defects in the road surface – in certain circumstances highway authorities have some duties and responsibilities which if they fail to fulfil can lead to a successful claim.
- People opening car doors without having checked for motorcycles.
There are many other examples of negligence. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident please contact us for a free initial discussion and we can advise you about your claim.
Can I claim if I was partly to blame?
Sometimes with an accident more than one person can be to blame, a combination of factors can come together causing the collision. Providing the evidence shows someone else was partly to blame for the accident, even if you have done something wrong, you may still be able to claim. Your compensation might be reduced for what the law calls your “contributory negligence” but you can still pursue the claim. The law in this area can be complex but we would be happy to have an initial discussion with you so we can advise you whether you have a case worth investigating.
How do I pursue my motorbike claim?
Our experts at Clarke Willmott will support you through the entire legal process. We recommend you contact one of our specialist solicitors as soon as possible – on occasion insurers contact injured motorcyclists directly, and sometimes this means people are persuaded not to bring a claim or they receive less compensation than they would otherwise be entitled to.
Our team will make the claim on your behalf and contact the insurers of the negligent person responsible for your accident.
Sometimes accident circumstances are clear and an insurance company will quickly admit liability to provide compensation to you. However if an insurer does not make such an admission we will then investigate your claim by getting the police report, interviewing witnesses, reviewing any evidence from the scene of the accident, and looking at any CCTV or dashcam footage. In appropriate cases we may even obtain reports from independent experts in the filed of accident reconstruction.
We have pursued many motorcycle accident cases where insurers initially denied liability and our expertise and experience has resulted in successful claims. We will also obtain evidence about your injuries and financial losses. Independent medical experts will review your medical records and examine you and produce detailed reports we can use in your case. Your financial losses will be investigated, and we will seek evidence about loss of earnings, medical treatment costs, the cost of any care and support you need will be considered.
Rehabilitation is often vital, and we will claim damages so you can access the best possible treatment. In addition we will consider any damage to your motorcycle, the costs of a replacement and also the value of any kit damaged or destroyed as a result of the accident – and in motorcycle claims this can be a significant amount.
Regrettably, because of their vulnerability, bikers can often sustain very serious injuries as a result of other road users’ negligence.
You can find more information about claims for different types of injury here:
- Brain or head injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Amputation or lost limb
- Brachial plexus or shoulder injuries
- Multiple fractures and broken bones
- Fatal injury claims
How quickly can I get financial and other support?
If the insurer accepts they are liable to compensate you, or if a civil court decides someone else was to blame for your accident, then we will immediately seek a payment on account of your compensation. Depending on the evidence we can often apply to the court to force such a payment to be made. We do understand the financial pressures that a serious injury or loss of a loved one can bring and will do all that we can to help.
Also, you might be entitled to benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions, or assistance from your Local Authority and we can help you obtain advice about your entitlement.
As specialist lawyers, we are under a duty to consider your rehabilitation needs and understand that often your recovery from injury will be your biggest priority. We will do all we can to help you access the support and treatment that you need.
What are the time limits for bringing a motorcycle injury claim?
The general rule is that civil court action must be started within three years of the accident. However, there are exceptions and people who lack the mental capacity to bring a claim are not subject to a time limit, and if an accident affects someone before they are 18 years old, then their time limit is to start court proceedings before they turn 21. The law can be complex, and we advise people to contact us as soon as possible after their accident, but you can speak to us at any time for advice about how a time limit might affect your claim.
“No win no fee” and other methods of funding your legal costs
If we can assist in pursuing your claim we usually can offer you a “no win no fee” agreement – and if we can then we do not ask for any payment from you at the start of your claim, and there will be nothing to pay if your claim is unsuccessful – and so you can pursue your claim with no financial risk
There are other ways to fund legal costs and you might have a policy of legal expenses insurance, where one of your own insurers might be responsible for the legal costs of pursuing a claim. If you think you might have such insurance then contact us to discuss matters – we can contact your insurers to see if they can help.
Find our more information about funding the legal costs here.
What if I am the victim of an uninsured driver, or I was involved in a “hit and run”?
In the vast majority of motorcycle accidents the person responsible can be identified and is insured. However, there seems to be an increase in the number of uninsured vehicles. Also, sometimes people who cause accidents do not stop at the scene – commonly known as a “hit and run”.
If your accident was caused by an uninsured motorist or by someone who leaves the scene and cannot be identified – we may be able to pursue a claim on your behalf to the “Motor Insurers Bureau” (the “MIB”). UK based motor insurers must pay into this scheme so that the innocent victims of uninsured or untraced drivers can be compensated.
If an uninsured or untraced driver caused your motorbike accident, please get in touch and we can discuss your claim and advise whether you are eligible to claim from the MIB.
Why instruct Clarke Willmott solicitors?
Our team are specialist lawyers with many years of handling motorcycle accident claims. Some of our lawyers are bikers. We are experts in the law relating to motorcycle accidents and we understand the particular issues bikers face. We exclusively handle claims for people with serious injuries or who have lost loved ones and family members – and have some of the leading practitioners in the country in those fields. Our approach is to put the client at the centre of everything that we do.
If you have further questions, please see our frequently asked questions about making a compensation claim or contact us.