Insurer alleges speed as cause of motorcycle collision

On the 15th March 2019 around 9am, Abdullah was riding his Yamaha MT07 motorcycle north-west on Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh, on his commute to work at. As he approached the Commonwealth Pool junction, a car suddenly pulled out from the car park entrance across his path.

Junction at exit to Commonwealth pool, Edinburgh

The locus showing Abdullah’s direction of travel. The black car positioned where the driver emerged from.

Abdullah’s next memory was of waking up in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary around three hours later. His recollection of the collision was vague due to his head injury but we obtained statements from eye witnesses and Police Scotland Officers who attended the scene. As a result, we were able to piece together the accident circumstances. The car had exited the car park and pulled straight out into Abdullah’s path. For Abdullah, the collision was unavoidable.

EXTENT AND IMPACT OF MOTOTCYCLE INJURIES

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with motorcyclists, Abdullah suffered serious injuries which included a mild head injury, a fracture to his right clavicle, pneumothorax, right sided hearing loss and dental trauma. He was unable to work for 1 1/2 months before returning to restricted duties. Thankfully, he was able to return to full duties in May 2019. During his absence period, he required support, care and assistance from his wife.

GETTING THE RIGHT RESULT FOR THE MOTORCYCLIST

Following the incident, the third party driver was charged with careless driving by Police Scotland. However, despite the overwhelming evidence against their insured, on intimation of a claim for compensation in civil law, the third party insurers refused to admit full liability. They alleged that Abdullah had been travelling at 45mph in a 20 mph zone on the basis of an estimate from an eye witness.

Judging speed is notoriously difficult and regardless the driver pulled out in front of Abdullah when he was there to be seen. There was no evidence of speed on Abdullah’s part according to the reporting Police Officers.

We raised an action in Court for Abdullah alleging the collision had been caused by the sole fault of the driver. Sense prevailed and we received a full admission of liability.

Personal injury cases are split into two parts. Liability and Quantum. Quantum is the value of the claim and this is where we pride ourselves in getting the right result. You cannot assess the impact of injuries by asking a client to complete a form and then instructing a medical report with no thought as to how the injuries affect that individual. It is important to get clear instructions from a client regarding all aspects of their injuries and thereafter the skill of the lawyer rests in the instruction of the correct skilled medical expert. It is important to discuss the full impact of the injuries with other family members and, in Abdullah’s case, his wife. This detailed investigation enables us to explore the full extent of the injury including impact on work, family life and hobbies.

We instructed four separate medical specialists including Consultants in Orthopaedic Surgery, Neurology, Otolaryngology and Dentistry, Abdullah received a tailored rehabilitation package that suitably met his needs. The medical evidence was that Abdullah would suffer from permanent right sided hearing loss and tinnitus. The dental expert outlined future dental work that was required. The cost of this was included within our settlement proposals.

WHY ARE MOTORCYCLE LAW SCOTLAND DIFFERENT?

The initial offer which was made pre-litigation was poor and seriously undervalued Abdullah's injuries. Eventually, we settled the case when we received a good offer that was 33 percent more than the original offer.

This case started with an insurer chancing their arm on speed with no basis upon which to do so. A by-stander estimating speed is not evidence of speed. The causal factor was the driver failing to see a correctly proceeding motorcyclist when he was there to be seen.

We were delighted when the case settled for the correct amount of compensation and for the full amount of compensation. We are never prepared to accept spurious allegations of speed. So often the word “motorcycle“ goes hand in hand with the word “speed” as far as insurers are concerned. In our opinion, that is a disgrace especially when the driver pulled out in front of a motorcyclist who was there to be seen.

As motorcycling lawyers, we take our responsibilities to our clients very seriously and will always work with our clients to fight their corner. We carefully investigate the extent of our clients injuries. Unlike some appointed law firms, we don’t believe in filling in forms. We certainly don’t believe in using agencies to appoint a medical expert. It's our job to carefully assess all the evidence both in relation to how a collision has occurred and also the extent of the injury to enable us to carefully select independent medical experts who are provided with full medical records and detailed letters of instruction. We do this to get the right outcome every time.

On settlement of his case, Abdullah had this to say, 

"After being involved in a motorcycle accident, I came across Motorcycle Law Scotland whilst searching online. Soon after making contact, Brenda was in touch and this was the start of my wholly positive experience with them. Despite numerous hiccups, Brenda and her team were regularly in touch to keep me updated on progress and to provide me with the various options available - being friendly and professional throughout. I would have no hesitation in recommending Motorcycle Law Scotland for anyone unfortunate enough to be involved in a motor accident."

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