On 27th June 2014 around 9pm, James was riding his Honda Blackbird on the A76 between New Cumnock and Kirkconnel. He negotiated a series of bends and as he lined himself for a left-hander, he was confronted with a car heading North on the Southbound carriageway! The driver had clearly overtaken on a blind bend.
James tried to take evasive action to avoid a head-on collision by squeezing close to the nearside grass verge, but unfortunately he clipped the offside wing mirror and was jettisoned from his motorcycle. The driver also collided with the vehicle she had been attempting to overtake.
The police were called to the scene of the accident. The driver was cautioned and charged with dangerous driving but later accepted a lesser charge of careless driving and was fined £1600 with 8 penalty points endorsed on her licence.
James was taken by emergency ambulance to Ayr Hospital where he received treatment for multiple injuries including fractured and dislocated fingers requiring surgery, a fractured right wrist, soft tissue injuries and lacerations to his right knee as well as facial injury. James was kept in hospital for 4 days.
On his discharge from hospital, James was contacted by a firm of lawyers who had been appointed by his motor insurers to pursue his personal injury claim.
As a result of the accident, James lost income as being self-employed he didn’t get paid during his 2 month period of absence. His motorcycle was written off and his helmet and protective clothing needed to be replaced.
Despite the serious nature of his injuries and his extensive losses, James was never offered an appointment with his appointed solicitor and dealing with matters over the phone was incredibly frustrating. Worse was to come when his appointed solicitor informed him that she had a report from an Orthopaedic surgeon and estimated his claim for his injury to be in the region of £5000. As a self-employed digger driver with an injury to his dominant right hand, James was concerned about what the future would hold for him. He strongly disputed the appointed solicitor’s assessment of the value of his claim.
Concerned that his appointed solicitor was disinterested and looking for a quick settlement, James spoke with some fellow motorcyclists who immediately suggested he contact Motorcycle Law Scotland and so in July 2015, over a year after his accident, James approached Brenda Mitchell and asked for help.
Brenda explained she would take his case from the previously instructed solicitor at no cost to James. In fact, transferring was easy. After over a year with a solicitor that couldn’t be bothered to meet with him, James was now confident that his case would be properly progressed. He was also was delighted that within a matter of weeks Brenda drove from the Borders to Cumnock to meet James face to face explaining that she couldn’t progress his case unless she met with him and understood his quite unique injuries and how those injuries could impact on his employment.
Subsequent to the meeting, Brenda identified the need to get a specialist hand surgeon to examine James, as she too was concerned about his injured wrist and fingers. She was also able to get a better understanding of the scope of James’s employment and how the injuries sustained might impact on his ability to carry out manual tasks in the future.
Working together with Jodi Gordon, Senior Solicitor at Motorcycle Law Scotland, some of the best medical experts were instructed, specialists in their field. As a result of the focused attention to detail and meticulous investigation carried out, an offer was secured from the driver’s insurer at just over £50,000, ten times more than his previous solicitor had estimated.
A great result and one that James is very happy about.
“It was like night and day. Insurance companies and their affiliate organisations only seem to be looking out for themselves whereas Motorcycle Law Scotland was different. They were genuinely interested in helping me. When I first met Brenda, I was extremely worried about my case. She reassured me massively, put me at ease and told me not to be concerned. She gave me confidence and I had complete trust in her. I cannot thank her and the rest of the Motorcycle Law Scotland team enough for all they did for me. I really appreciate it.”
James is keen to warn other motorcyclists who find themselves in a similar position to himself not to fall into the wrong hands. Don’t accept a solicitor appointed by an insurer and always choose your own specialist. It’s the most important decision you will make and it’s not a decision to be taken for you and especially not by an insurance company.