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Compensation for motorcycle accidents

Claiming compensation for your motorcycle crash

Unfortunately, it’s a simple fact that there is a higher risk of serious injury when using the roads as motorcyclist. This is because motorcyclists are more vulnerable to other road users, road conditions and the weather.

However, often many of the accidents suffered by motorcyclists and their passengers are avoidable – for example, if roads were properly maintained or lorry and car drivers were more cautious and considered with their driving.

Of course, there are some accidents where the driver of the motorcycle is at fault, but quite often, even in cases where there is not directly another person or party present, there may be a compensation claim.

While most expert solicitors assess potential claims on a case-by-case basis, below there is some more information about making a compensation claim following a motorcycle accident. Or, if you’re ready to speak to someone, please contact a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 for free, impartial advice about your experience.

Can you claim?

The simple answer is, we can’t tell you for sure until you’ve spoken to a legal adviser. However, if you meet the below criteria there is a strong chance you might be able to make a claim:

If you answered yes to these questions, we recommend calling an adviser for free help on 0800 234 6438.

How to know if somebody else was to blame for your accident

Unfortunately, when it comes to pointing the finger and determining fault, there is a great deal of bias toward the motorcyclist. This is due to generalisations that motorcyclists drive too fast and too dangerously. However, all that matters in a personal injury claim is that there is evidence of wrongdoing by another road user which caused the accident.

Some cases will be clear cut (such as a vehicle pulling across the road infront of you), but others may be disputed. However, a specialist motorbike accident solicitor will have been through all this before. They will be experienced in these types of cases and will know what it takes to get the compensation you deserve.

The more evidence you present to your injury lawyer, the stronger the case they will be able to build, and examples of this include:

Since you are legally entitled to gain access of CCTV footage of yourself, you might also be in the position of having the incident captured on camera. If the scene of the crash is covered by CCTV cameras you have a right to ask the owner of the camera to hand over the footage.

As a part of any compensation claim will be made up of money intended to cover expenses arising from your injuries – both at the time and in the future – it is imperative that you keep any receipts for applicable expenses.

Part of the intention of the compensation process, as well as recognising the negligence of your treatment, is to ensure that you don’t end up being any worse off in financial terms than you would be had the accident not happened.

As a more vulnerable road user, motorcycle riders can also be harmed due to poor road conditions, unclear junction markings and adverse weather conditions. While we’re not able to help with accidents caused by bad weather, we can help with accidents that were a result of poorly maintained roads, even when the person responsible for your accident is not immediately clear.

Public bodies such as highway authorities have a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to ensure that the roads they are responsible for are safe for members of the public to use. This includes:

When these obligations are not met, the responsible highways agency may be to blame for your accident. The same can be said for private roads too.

To make a compensation claim against a highway authority or agency your solicitor will need to show that the highways agency:

Don’t worry about having to collect this information yourself – your solicitor, as part of your claim, can help you gather the evidence you need to prove that your accident was the highway authority’s fault.

Claiming on behalf of a loved one

Unfortunately, there are occasions when the accident has happened to a loved one, leaving them severely injured and unable to make a claim themselves. This often means your life is completely different as a result, and you continually stress and worry about their recovery and your finances longer term.

While claiming won’t change the circumstances of your loved one’s injury or accident, it can lessen any financial pressures and also give you access to specialised treatment that might help recovery.

A solicitor will be able to help you make a claim on their behalf, with you being something that is referred to as a ‘litigation friend’. Alternatively, if you’re looking to make a claim on behalf of a child, please click here for more information.

Claiming for a fatal motorcycle accident

If your husband, wife or civil partner is killed in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t their fault, you are entitled to make a claim on their behalf, no matter how long the marriage/civil partnership lasted.

If you and your partner weren’t married, you can only bring a claim if you have been living with them for at least two continuous years before the fatal accident happened.

If you are eligible to make a claim, you will usually need to start the claims process within three years of their death and you may be entitled to compensation for:

Making a police report after an accident

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, if you are involved in a road traffic accident and a person other than yourself is injured, or damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property, you must:

You should also let the police know if the accident:

Can you make a claim if the accident was your fault?

If you were partly responsible for your accident, or your injuries were made worse because you were not wearing a helmet for example, you may still be able to claim compensation if someone else was partly responsible too.

If you were partially to blame, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced depending on how much the judge thinks that it was your fault.

In the O’Connell v Jackson case, the claimant’s compensation was reduced by 15% after he sustained severe head injuries. This occurred from being knocked off his moped but was contributed to by the fact that he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Similarly, in Capps v Miller, the rider’s compensation was reduced by 10% after his helmet came off because the straps were not attached.

DID YOU KNOW: Motorcyclists are officially designated by the Department for Transport as a ‘vulnerable user group’.

Rules for motorcyclists

The ‘vulnerable user group’ position, occupied by motorcyclists when on the road, is recognised in the Highway Code. In the code, it sets out a series of rules designed to help motorcyclists keep themselves safe and free from harm. These include:

It is advisable to wear eye protection, strong boots, gloves and protective clothing too.

Making a joint claim for injury and damage to your bike

It’s likely at the time of your accident, your motorbike was also damaged. If that’s the case, you can make a claim for your personal injury and the damage to your bike in the same case.

Your solicitor will be able to help you with the claim, so you won’t need to worry about additional paperwork or points of contact.

In your final settlement, alongside covering the costs of your injury and damage to your bike, you’ll be awarded compensation for the damage to your clothing and other personal possessions damaged in the crash.

DID YOU KNOW: Road accident claims valued up to £25,000 are dealt with on a fast-track system, meaning most cases are settled within 6 months.

Claiming for a hit and run accident

If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident and the driver responsible takes off without stopping, then you can still seek help to make a claim.

If the driver can’t be traced then the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), will pay your compensation.

The MIB is funded by a small contribution from every vehicle insurance premium taken out in the UK. The MIB was set up to allow people injured by a hit and run drivers (and uninsured drivers) to claim compensation.

If you are involved in an accident with a hit and run driver you should try to:

Since August 2015 the MIB will only consider vehicle damage claims if you don’t have comprehensive insurance. This means if you have comprehensive insurance, you’ll need to speak to your insurance company about payment for your damaged bike.

About the Author

Lucy Trevelyan LLB

Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.