DIYPI: I’ve Been the Victim of a Motorcycle Accident Which Wasn’t My Fault. How Do I Go About Making a Claim for Personal Injury?
There are few recreational pursuits which compare to the high-octane thrills enjoyed while riding a motorcycle. On a summer’s day, challenging yourself – and the laws of gravity – by tackling the apexes and hairpins indicative of many rural road networks is the very reason you invest in a motorbike in the first place.
Providing it’s followed to the letter of both the Highway Code and common sense, of course.
Although many of us might simply prefer to pootle around at our leisure. And let the more congested suburban roads set the pace instead.
By and large though, riding a motorcycle is the closest endorphin-releasing activity to base or bungee-jumping you’re likely to find. At least while you’re still in direct contact with terra firma. And you’re not physically connected to something elastic.
Accidents Do Happen
The problem is, despite all the health and safety protocols you readily adopt (and remain mindful of) when setting out on your motorcycle, other road users might not be equally compliant. Or indeed, overly aware for that matter.
Tragically, not everyone who controls a four-wheeled vehicle gives those on a two-wheeled variant the respect that they deserve. Nor, more importantly, do they afford them the room on the road that they need to go about their journey safely.
Carelessness is often a precursor to motorcycle accidents. If it’s not carelessness, then it could be a road rage incident. Both could, ultimately result in various types of injury and damage.
Don’t Motorcyclists’ Kit Offer Multi-layers of Protection, Given the Clothing Looks So State-of-the-art?
In a word, no.
Despite significant technologically derived safety advancements in automotive design, for motorcyclists not a great deal has changed over the years. Once you’ve taken into account the helmet, gloves, boots and durable leathers, then nothing else really separates the rider from the road surface. Or indeed, a car’s exterior surface, in the event of a collision with either.
That being said, a couple of dedicated add-ons have become available on the motorcycle accessories market in more recent years. Notably crash bars which are specifically designed to protect the rider’s legs. Together with ‘airbag vests’; which have been fashioned to safeguard vital organs.
The Stats Don’t Lie, Do They?
So, brace yourself for some hard-hitting stats which you just can’t ignore.
For all the safety and protective wear in the world, motorcyclists have been found to be some 63 times more likely to suffer serious injuries (or killed) in an accident, than car drivers. That’s according to research conducted by road safety campaigning charity, Brake.
The bad news doesn’t end there. Did you know that a staggering 16,818 riders became road accident casualties in 2018 alone, while 5,912 – more than a third of the total – wound up being seriously injured.
Moreover, were you aware that in 2019 motorcyclists accounted for 19% – or 1 in 5 – of all road traffic fatalities here on UK roads (with 335 riders sadly losing their lives). This in light of the underlying fact that motorcyclists comprise just 1% in terms of road users.
Will These Figures Improve?
It’s difficult to predict.
Especially since motorcycle sales have rocketed during successive national lockdowns brought on by the global Coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, sales grew by 37.5% month-on-month from June to July alone, as people looked at alternative methods to public transport, as a means of travelling from A – B.
Generally-speaking, motorcyclists are amongst the most vulnerable road users in the UK. Highlighted once more by the results of a Department for Transport (DfT) study which discovered that bikers’ casualty rates represented 5,051 per billion miles travelled in 2019. Contrast this with car drivers, who saw a casualty rate of 195 for the same distance driven.
What Are the Most Common Accident Types Involving Motorcyclists Who Claim for Personal Injury?
First of all, it’s important to understand that personal injuries which befall motorbike riders fall into the two predominant camps. The more obvious physical injuries, and the lesser acknowledged (yet equally far-reaching) psychological injuries suffered. Both outcomes can be very serious, as you can imagine.
Citing actual accident types however, and the following are recognised as prime examples of situations which can ultimately lead to motorcycle personal injury claims being filed.
- Failure to negotiate bends properly
- Collision at junctions
- Collision while overtaking
- Rider losing control of the motorcycle
But Then Just Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?
Should it be proven that an accident was caused by either another driver’s negligence or a road surface which hasn’t been repaired after receiving damage (in which case, the local council authority under whose jurisdiction said road falls under is the culpable party), then the responsibility lies with this individual or authority.
With this in mind, it will then be up to their insurers to pay any compensation package which the victim of a motorcycle accident has made a personal injury claim for. Subject to them experiencing a physical or psychological injury as a result. In this instance, you won’t be seeking financial recompense directly from the driver.
As we mentioned above. It’s not just other drivers who inflict personal injury on motorcycle claimants, as sometimes poorly maintained road surfaces are at fault. Potholes are one such example of this, whereby a local council or Highways England will be held accountable.
Are There Any Other Reasons Why Motorcyclist Might Experience Personal Injuries Where Blame Isn’t Apportioned to Them?
Yes. Motorcyclists could also, potentially sustain personal injuries thanks to bike manufacturer defects. It’ not completely unheard of for riders to unwittingly injure themselves because of a faulty motorbike or component.
If and when this has been legally established, then the victim could be in a position to make a motorcycling personal injury claim against the manufacturer.
So How Do I Go About Making a Motorcycle Personal Injury Claim?
The initial part of making any personal injury claim is apportioning blame. Or more specifically; determining that the accident was not the claimant’s fault. It’s highly likely that the victim was unable to consider gathering evidence to support a future personal injury claim (including taking photographs) in the event of a motorcycle accident, understandably due to being inconvenienced then and there.
However, the police will have almost certainly attended the scene in the immediate aftermath and compiled their own circumstantial evidence as to what the cause of the incident was. This evidence is crucial when constructing a timeline of events and facts which can be later presented should a criminal case be brought. Aside from police records, any witnesses and/or CCTV footage will help paint a better picture of exactly who was to blame.
If you believe that you may have a sound case for prosecution, then you need to contact a team of personal injury claims experts. They are well placed, professionally to log the important details of your motorcycle accident, and subsequently offer support and advice every step of the way thereafter, as you build a personal injury case.
Will I Still Be Entitled to Personal Injury Compensation for a Motorbike Accident If I Accept Partial Blame?
You don’t have to be totally blameless when looking to make a personal injury claim in relation to a motorbike accident. Often courts of law will concur that riders have contributed to an accident. Possibly citing risk-taking manoeuvres or being guilty of using excessive speed. This element is referred to as ‘contributory negligence’, and if this comes to legally bear – and blame is apportioned between both parties – then any compensation amounts will be reduced accordingly.
Is There A Limit to How Long I Have to Make a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claim?
Yes, there is. Traditionally, a claimant has three years in which to make their intentions known and proceed with bringing a compensation case against who they perceive to be the guilty party. Typically, a car driver or a local authority.
That said, there are occasionally some exceptions to this rule depending on individual cases.