On the 25th August 2019, Robert was riding his motorcycle on the A830 towards Mallaig. He was one of a group of 7 riders including his son. At a point on the road between Lochailort and Mallaig, he noticed up ahead that a number of riders had pulled into a layby.
Motorcycle collision circumstances...
Robert indicated left to pull into the layby and just as he was about to enter it, he was hit at speed by one of the following motorcyclists in his group. He believed the speed on impact was between 60 -70mph. As a result of the collision, Robert was rendered unconscious.
Robert's motorcycling injuries...
Here’s a list of Robert’s injuries:-
• Closed head injury
• Soft tissue injury to neck
• Soft tissue injury to left shoulder
• Soft tissue injury to his right elbow
• Soft tissue injury to both wrists
• Soft tissue injury to right hand
• Soft tissue injury to lower back including abrasions to the skin
• Soft tissue injury to left hip
• Soft tissue injury to left knee and
• Soft tissue injury to his right ankle
• Post-concussion symptoms including difficulties with cognitive functioning, severe headache, nausea and ringing in both ears and
• Adjustment Disorder with anxiety and depression including flashbacks and travel anxiety.
Insurer, Panel solicitor and 4th Dimension get involved...
Robert reported the accident to his insurers who referred him to 4th Dimension who provide “assistance services to insurers and brokers.” He was offered and provided with a hire bike despite telling them he had a head injury. He was also referred to a firm of solicitors and was asked to sign a form at the same time as their terms of engagement. In the early days, he was so confused and did not really know what he was doing.
Irrevocable mandate discovered...
Robert came to us for help and we requested his file from the panel solicitors. When the file arrived, we were horrified to find the form was in fact an irrevocable mandate authorising 4th Dimension to receive 25% of his compensation award upon successful conclusion!
We immediately asked the panel solicitor for an explanation as to why this document had either been sent to Robert for signature or if it had been sent by 4th Dimension to him, then why hadn’t they questioned it. The response from the panel solicitor was that the irrevocable mandate was nothing to do with them and that we should take it up with 4th Dimension.
This is what the panel solicitor said:
“Mr McAllan does not have the benefit of Legal Expenses Insurance and, as such, 4th Dimension, who administer insurance policies for a number of insurers, ask that those insured with their clients enter into an agreement regarding their settlement. If you have a concern, it may be better that you take the matter up with 4th Dimension.”
We challenged 4th Dimension as to why they thought it was appropriate to take 25% of a client’s compensation and they immediately retracted the mandate advising it had been sent in error. We also questioned the provision of a hire motorcycle and they immediately withdrew the cost of recovery of hire charges.
Raising Court action and settlement
We got on with the job in hand and, after careful investigation and the instruction of numerous medical experts, we raised a court action for Robert and then settled his case for a substantial £33,275. If we hadn’t questioned 4th Dimension and the panel solicitors, then 4th Dimension would have received £8,318.75 for doing absolutely NOTHING.
How on earth can a company that advertises support services to the insurance industry think it is in any way reasonable to plunder awards of compensation?
Robert asked us to highlight his case because he is concerned that what could have happened to him had he stayed with the appointed panel solicitors, could happen to other unsuspecting motorcyclists.
We certainly hope we have uncovered an isolated incident with 4th Dimension, but bearing in mind what the panel solicitors advised, we think not.
Motorcycle Law Scotland are still awaiting a detailed response from the Directors of 4th Dimension, but we say now to all motorcyclists:
• Never allow your insurer to appoint a panel of solicitor.
• Don’t sign anything that looks like an irrevocable mandate in favour of 4th Dimension that allows them to take 25% of your damages.
• Do not accept a hire bike if you have alternative transport.
• Never accept a hire motorcycle if you are injured and can’t ride the same because ultimately you have responsibility for the hire costs