Specialist motoring solicitor Andrew Prendergast guides our readers through their legal trials and troubles...
Q This is random and I wonder if I am the most unlucky biker in the world! I am a courier in London and was riding my old rat of a CX500. As usual traffic was rammed so I was filtering but as I passed an HGV the driver dropped a lit fag out of the window which fell into my jacket. There was mucho screaming on my part, a severe wobble and I crashed into another car (causing damage) and fell off. The CX500 looks pretty much the same i.e. battered but injury wise I have broken my wrist and have a burn on my chest. Is this too random for me to claim?
A It’s good to hear the CX500 rat is unharmed in this ‘random’ act. As for whether you are the most unlucky biker in the world I think you may get short listed for an award. However, I did see a video of a man being chased by an elephant while riding his moped so I don’t think you would win. In short, the first ‘link’ in the ‘chain’ of causation is down to Mr HGV driver. If he hadn’t dropped his fag then you wouldn’t have fallen off. You can bring a claim against him for your losses and so can the owner of the car.
Q Some silly old bint who knocked me off my R6 after she drove onto the wrong side of the road. Liability was admitted. I hurt my neck and fractured my ankle. Her insurer agreed to pay for some physiotherapy but when I forgot to go twice and they cancelled it. I went mental when I found out. It wasn’t my fault that I needed it in the first place! The problem I have is her insurer has now made an offer £12,000. My solicitor says he can’t advise me fully yet as I haven’t got my medical evidence in order yet (he blamed me because I forgot to go to an MRI scan and a medical examination) but that I could be liable for some costs if I don’t get more than £12,000 at Court later on. It doesn’t seem like enough. I have told my solicitor that I will sue him.
A Firstly, it’s not good you got hurt but liability was admitted and the other side agreed to pay for physiotherapy. This is entirely reasonable. Why should they keep paying for something that you can’t be bothered to attend? You don’t get compensation for the fact you “could have been killed.” Your solicitor is correct and I don’t have much sympathy as you would have the medical evidence if you had managed to go to the appointments. As for a way forward, you have choices but these have consequences. You could accept the offer but it may not be enough i.e. if you needed an operation etc. in the future. Alternatively, you could get further medical evidence and settle later once you know what the score is. However, if the evidence doesn’t support an award more than the current offer, you may well be liable for your legal costs, your medical disbursements and the legal costs of the other side from the time you could have accepted the offer until settlement.