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Motorcycle accident claims

Claiming compensation for your motorcycle crash

Unfortunately, there is a higher risk of serious injury when using the roads as motorcyclist. But if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to claim compensation on a no win no fee* basis.

Road accidents are frightening at the best of times, but if you’re a motorcyclist, you take on more risk every time you ride your bike on the road because you’re more vulnerable than other road users.

While the safety aspect of cars has continually developed over the years, little has changed for motorcycles. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, all you have to protect you are your helmet, gloves, boots and your leathers.

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.

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, and discover if you could make a successful claim.

What causes motorcycle accidents?

According to road safety charity, Brake, motorcyclists are 63 times more likely to suffer multiple severe injuries or be killed in a road traffic accident than car drivers.

So what are the leading causes of motorbike accidents?

Dangerous road conditions

Road conditions are one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Wind, rain and snow can create slippery surfaces on roads, making it difficult for motorcyclists to control their bikes.

Drivers should be aware of potential hazards such as potholes and road debris that could cause a crash if they are not able to slow down or avoid them in time.

Other factors that may contribute to an accident include:

  • Road signs that may be hard to see in bad weather or at night;
  • Poorly marked lanes;
  • Objects such as low hanging branches;


Speeding is a major factor in motorcycle accident-related injuries and deaths. A Motorcycle Safety Foundation study found that speeding was a contributing factor in 43 percent of all fatal accidents.

In addition, the fatality rate among riders who were speeding at the time of their crash was 3.5 times greater than those who weren’t. Also, when compared with riders who didn’t speed, those who did had an injury severity score that was twice as high on average.

Lack of experience

Despite the fact that motorcyclists are required to get training and licensing before they get on their bike, if you lack experience riding your bike, you’re more at risk of being involved in a road traffic accident.

The problem with inexperience extends to car drivers as well. Drivers who are used to driving vehicles may not understand how motorcycles move differently than cars or trucks.

Driving under the influence

Alcohol is a major factor in motorcycle accidents. Alcohol use can affect your judgment, coordination and reaction time.

If you drink alcohol before riding your bike, it could impair your vision, causing you to lose control of the vehicle or hit something in front of you.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is another leading cause of road traffic accidents. A distracted driver is someone who is not paying attention to the road. Distracted driving can be caused by a person in any vehicle, including a passenger, pedestrian or motorcyclist.

All it takes is a drop in concentration for a split second for a motorbike accident to happen.

There are many different types of distracted driving that can lead to a motorbike accident. The most common distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking on the phone
  • Using a GPS device
  • Reading printed materials

What are the most common motorcycle injuries?

If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, you will be incredible lucky to walk away unscathed. Most motorbike accidents result in more serious injuries across the entire body:

Head and neck injuries

These occur due to a fall or impact with something in your environment (like another vehicle, or hitting the road).

Spinal cord injury

These happen because of an impact that twists your body—or if you aren’t wearing proper protection for your spine, as a result of crushing.

Thoracic injuries

These may happen if you crash into something that causes damage to your ribs and lungs, while abdominal injuries can be caused by a hard landing after falling from a motorcycle.

Pelvic injuries

These are usually the result from crashes where the rider hits their pelvic bone against something hard.

Facial trauma

This typically occurs when helmets don’t fit properly for some reason.

Road rash

Road rash isn’t a graze like you’d get if you fell over in the street. Roads are covered in dirt, gravel, and bacteria, and when a rider is dragged along the road, all of the detritus on the road can be driven into the skin, causing infections.

What are lowside accident injuries?

A lowside accident occurs when the bike’s rear tyre loses grip with the road and kicks out to one side. This can happen when the bike is cornering, or when the rider is taking avoiding action. Injuries sustained often include road rash, soft tissue injuries, and broken bones.

What are highside accident injuries?

A highside accident is when the bike rider is flipped over the handlebars or thrown from the bike. This can happen when the rear tyre regains grip with the road suddenly i.e. after a skid. The motion jerks the bike with huge force, flinging the rider off it. Injuries suffered from a highside accident usually leave riders with head and arm injuries.

Why make a motorcycle accident compensation claim?

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, your medical costs alone can be very high. If you suffer serious injuries, it can take months or even years to recover and be able to return to work. You could suffer from PTSD following the accident.

In addition to the pain and suffering caused by your injury, a motorbike accident can result in lost wages from not being able to work.

You’ll also need money for repairs on your motorcycle, replacement parts for helmets and protective gear (like jackets), clothing that may no longer fit after surgery or weight gain related to medication use.

And that’s just for starters.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due another person’s negligence, you are entitled to claim fair compensation for your losses.

To find out more about making a motorbike accident claim, speak to a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438, and get your no win no fee claim started right away.

How much compensation could I get for a motorcycle accident claim?

The Judicial College sets out a range of compensation payouts depending on the type of motorcycle accident injury you sustain, from slight to serious.

Your solicitor will go into this in more depth, but as an example:

  • Facial injury – £1,460 – £344,640
  • Severe back injury with spinal cord damage – £77,700 – £137,330
  • Paraplegia – £186,890 – £242,490
  • Fractured forearms – £5,630 – £16,380

Am I eligible to claim motorcycle accident compensation?

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:

  • Did your accident happen in the last three years?
  • Was somebody else at fault for it?
  • Were you or, in the case of serious injury, somebody else close to you injured as a result of the accident?

Someone is responsible for maintaining all public roads around the UK. National Highways are responsible for ensuring motorways and major A roads are maintained.

Local councils are responsible for all other public roads, pavements and public spaces in their jurisdiction.

They have a duty of care to ensure that roads are safe to use for all road users. So, if you’re motorcycle accident was caused by bad road surface, e.g. potholes or cracks in the road, then the body responsible for maintaining that stretch of road will pay your compensation in a successful claim.

To find out more about making a motorcycle injury claim, speak to a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438, and get your no win no fee claim started right away.

How to know if somebody else was to blame for your motorbike 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 in front of you), but others may be disputed.

Use specialist solicitors for motorbike accident claims

Specialist motorcycle accident solicitors will have significant experience claiming motorbike injury compensation. They will be experienced in these types of cases and will know what it takes to get the maximum compensation you deserve for your motorcycle accident injuries.

The more evidence you present to your motorcycle accident lawyers, the stronger the case they will be able to build.

Useful evidence includes:

Make notes of what happened

Write down your account of the accident as soon as you can, while it’s still fresh in your memory.

Take photographs

If you can, take photographs of the scene if possible, the damage to your bike, the vehicle or road damage that caused the accident, witnesses etc.

Contact details

Note down the contact details of any witnesses and other drivers. If there are police at the scene, take their details too.

Medical records

Keep a copy of any details of any medical treatment you have received.

Review CCTV

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.

Keep all receipts

As 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.

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:

  • Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period
  • Give your vehicle registration number, your name and address to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details
  • (If you do not exchange those details at the scene) you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours

You should also let the police know if the accident:

  • Has caused a blockage in the road
  • Looks to have been caused deliberately so somebody can submit a false insurance claim (crash for cash scheme)
  • Was caused by somebody you suspect has been drinking or taking drugs

To find out more about claiming motorcycle accident compensation, speak to a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438, and get your no win no fee claim started right away

Who do you claim motorcycle accident compensation from?

Part of the intention of the compensation process 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.

Highways agency

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:

  • Clearing spillages and removing debris from roads
  • Putting out warning signs for hazards, if they cannot be fixed quickly
  • Repairing potholes or signposting them
  • Ensuring the roads are safe for general usage

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:

  • Owed you a duty of care (for example, were responsible for the road’s upkeep)
  • Breached their duty of care (for example, let the road fall into a condition that caused you an injury)
  • That you were injured as a result

Don’t worry about having to collect all 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 motorcycle accident compensation 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:

  • Bereavement (i.e. grief)
  • Dependency – if you relied on them for some or all of your income
  • Funeral expenses

Can you make a claim if the motorcycle 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’.

Making a joint motorbike accident compensation 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.

Motorcycle accident claims for a hit and run

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:

  • Note down the colour, make, model and registration number of the vehicle that hit you
  • Get a list of the names and contact details of the any possible witnesses so you can take witness statements off them later if needed
  • Photograph the scene of the accident, your injuries and any damage suffered to your vehicle
  • Report the incident to the police and get a police log/reference number from them

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.

Can I receive interim compensation payments?

Because of the serious nature of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, you may require financial compensation sooner rather than later to help meet your immediate personal needs. E.g. to cover transport costs, medical expenses, lost earnings, specialist equipment.

If you require interim compensation payments, your solicitor will help you get these.

General 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:

  • Always wearing a helmet which complies with regulations
  • Never carrying more than one pillion passenger (a passenger sat behind the driver of the motorcycle), and none at all if you only have a provisional licence
  • Making yourself as visible as possible from the side and rear
  • When riding at night, wearing reflective clothing
  • Maintaining full vigilance on all sides when manoeuvring in traffic

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

How does no win no fee work?

A no win no fee motorcycle accident claim is a straightforward process. If you don’t win your compensation claim, you don’t pay your solicitor’s fee.

You’ll never be out of pocket for making a claim, but if you are successful, you’ll pay around 25% of the compensation award to your solicitor in legal fees.

To find out how you can make a no win no fee motorcycle accident claim, speak to a trained legal advisor for free on 0800 234 6438, and get your no win no fee claim started today.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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