Motorcycle legal advice: Will I be compensated or not?


Our specialist motoring solicitor Andrew Prendergast is back to guide you through motorcycle legal advice, trials and insurance troubles.

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Will I be compensated or not?

Q: Will I be compensated or not? At the beginning of April, I decided to take my old FJR1200 to the supermarket as it got a huge top box and panniers. I loaded up the old girl with the essentials to get through lockdown i.e. bread, milk, eggs, beer etc. So far, so good.

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I was nearly home when a lad reversed off his Nan’s drive, straight in front of me. I yanked on the anchors, lost the front end and tasted the tarmac unfortunately. One broken leg, one broken wrist, and a dozen broken eggs (the beer survived. Hoorah!).

We’re now a couple of months on and the young lad’s insurer are saying because there was no contact, its not their fault. Are they right? Also, I am worried a Judge may give me a slap for using my motorbike to go to the shops rather than my car. I’ve seen loads of stuff online with cops saying it was illegal.

A: Firstly, hoorah for the beer surviving. To win your claim, you need to prove on the balance of probabilities that the lad was negligent; and because of his negligence, you have suffered a loss. The fact there was no contact is not the be all and end all.

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If you can prove you were on the main road when he reversed out into your path, causing you to brake and fall off, then you should win. As for taking the bike rather than the car, there was never anything in law that said you couldn’t do that.

However, there was a bucket load of wrong information put out there, including from the police, that lead to a lot of confusion. Do not let that stop you from pursuing this.

Motorcycle legal advice

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‘She was looking at her phone’

Q: I was riding down my local high street when suddenly this young lady dashed out in front of me off the pavement. It turns out she had her headphones in and was looking at her phone. I properly clumped her and thought I had seriously hurt her.

Luckily, both she and I got up and lived to tell the tale. However, my Ducati Multistrada on the other hand is a different kettle of fish and I have a quote of £3,850 to fix it. I am now in a quandary as to whether to claim off my fully comprehensive insurance policy or go after the lady.

She looked about 19 years old and lived with her Mum and Dad so I’m guessing she hasn’t got too much in the way of cash. My insurer is trying to put me off claiming from them saying it will affect my no claims bonus. They said will put me in touch with a third-party company at no cost to me and I will get a free hire bike etc. However, I am suspicious.

A: I am getting more and more calls of “helpful” insurers trying to put their customers off from claiming from them.

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In short, YOU have paid YOUR money to insure a risk. If that risk happens i.e. your Duke gets trashed, then your insurer should pay out for that risk, if you want to claim. Simple as that. Whilst your no-claim bonus will be affected, your bike should be repaired and back on the road sooner rather than later.

Alternatively, you could go after the girl and you may even win 100%. However, if she hasn’t got the proverbial pot to piddle in, you will either never get your money; or it will take her several years to pay it. Neither is good for a speedy repair of the Duke. As for the third-party company, you’re right to be suspicious.

There is no such thing as a free lunch as they say, and they make their money off recovering/storing and hiring bikes etc. If you sign paperwork that says you’re liable for these costs, and they do not recover their outlay from the lady, guess who they will be coming after? You guessed it, you. One of the worst cases I have seen is a £17,000 storage/hire case when the bike had about £500 worth of damage.

Scandalous and a lot of stress for the poor biker they were chasing for money after they didn’t get it from the third party.

The MoreBikes legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.

The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences. White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law, and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution. White Dalton is Britain’s premier specialist motorcycle law practice, and if its professionals don’t know the answer to your question, there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance-appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice.

For road traffic offences, call the Motor Defence solicitors 
on 0800 280 0912. For non-offence cases, call 
White Dalton motorcycle solicitors
 on 0800 783 6191.


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