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Motorcycle accidents - what to consider when claiming compensation

Motorcycle accidents

Motorcyclists represent only a small proportion of road users but account for a significant percentage of the deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

Unfortunately for motorcyclists, there is a greater risk of an accident causing serious personal injury. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that motorcyclists are not seen as easily as other road users, have less protection and are more vulnerable to head and spinal injuries.

If you have been involved in a motorcycling accident and are looking to recover compensation for your injuries, Katherine Flashman Kitson at Parnalls in Launceston outlines some of the many points to bear in mind.

Get specialist advice

If you have been injured, you need early, specialist advice so that investigations can be started promptly. From receipts for your expenses to photographs of the scene and interviewing witnesses, your solicitor will help you make a start on compiling the evidence for your claim.

Specialist guidance throughout your claim can make a real difference. We can steer you towards obtaining early rehabilitation to help improve your recovery and get you back to work quicker. We can often help you obtain a payment on account of your compensation, which can be really helpful if your recovery is likely to take a long time.

Even after the claim has ended, depending on the amount of compensation, you may need continuing guidance to ensure your compensation is invested and managed properly.

Claims against highways authorities and others

Motorcyclists are particularly at risk of poor road maintenance and the hazards they cause. Diesel spills, potholes, uneven surfaces, poor surface repairs, protruding drain covers, debris, poor road markings and layout or lighting can all make life very difficult for the motorcyclist. Where there is no other road user involved, a claim might still be made against a highway authority if they have failed to maintain the highway properly.

While most accidents do involve other road users, accidents can happen in many different ways. It may not always be clear who is to blame but careful enquiry can often reveal who is responsible so that a claim can be made. For example, you may claim against the owner of escaped animals or against the occupier of premises alongside the highway for falling trees or masonry or even against pedestrians stepping out recklessly into the road.

Fatal or serious injury

Motorcyclists are roughly 35 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury in a road traffic accident. Fatalities are mainly caused as a result of major head injuries.  Wearing a helmet, which is compulsory in the UK, can reduce the risk of serious injury by around 50 per cent. If a loved one has suffered a fatal injury, a claim can be made by the rider’s estate to provide for family and dependants. You will need advice from specialist lawyers who can ensure that the claim is properly calculated.

Motorcycling injuries commonly occur to the neck, spinal cord, legs and arms and can leave permanent damage and have a major impact on your lifestyle. Your personal injury claim needs to be put together carefully to ensure that maximum provision is made for past and present losses and also provides for any long-term care needs.

The impact of injury on an older biker can be much more serious. ‘Born again’ bikers over the age of 60 are three times more likely to be hospitalised after a crash than younger bikers. Underlying illness like heart disease or high blood pressure can also increase complications after an accident, making the claim for compensation itself more complex.

Taking precautions

Taking precautions to minimise injury is obvious. Reliable and well-maintained machines, helmets and protective gear all help avoid or minimise the risk of serious injury when riding a motorcycle. But, if you are in an accident and your protective gear lets you down, you may have a claim against the seller or the manufacturer. The bike and safety gear that you buy should comply with British Safety Standards and is covered by consumer protection legislation which requires it to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.

For advice on any injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, or any other type of accident, please contact Katherine Flashman Kitson on 01566 772375 or email flashmankitsonk@www.parnalls.com

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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