David was riding his Harley Davidson Road King on the B9008 towards Tomintoul in June 2018. He was on his way to a Harley Davidson meeting at a hotel in Tomintoul and it was to be his first time meeting the group. He was riding slowly as he realised he was running early and didn’t want to be the first one there.
As he came around a wide right hand bend, all of a sudden his motorcycle lost traction on the road and he mounted the grassy verge falling onto his right side sustaining serious injuries to his right shoulder and chest. He had to call for an ambulance and the fire service also attended. What became clear to him as he was awaiting the emergency services was that there was a large amount of surface dressing chippings on the road. David is an experienced motorcyclist and he knew about the hazard of loose chippings on road surfaces. If he had seen road signs warning him, then he most certainly would have slowed down even more to take account of the potential hazard. As he was waiting for an ambulance to arrive, he could see the back of a single sign but there were no other signs in place to warn of the upcoming roadworks.
David was taken to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin suffering from a fractured collarbone, multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung. He was in hospital for six days and as soon as he was discharged he was keen to go back to the site of the accident in order to see if there were any signs that he could possibly have missed. When he went back, he could see there was only one road sign at the very start of the road surface dressing works. He hadn’t seen this road sign at the time of his accident because he had been concentrating on his line for the corner. In any event, there was no way that this road sign gave him enough warning of what he was to expect on the road and what he needed to do in order navigate the hazard.
David approached Motorcycle Law Scotland after his incident to enquire whether we could assist. As motorcyclists ourselves, we know how dangerous surface dressing works are to two wheeled vehicles, and we also know that there are special duties on the roads’ authorities in order to provide sufficient signage to allow road users to reduce their speed in advance of surface dressing works. We knew that one sign at the start of the works was simply not enough.
We intimated a claim to Moray Council who were the roads authority in the area. Moray Council denied responsibility on the basis that there had been signage in place and provided us with a copy of their signage records which indicated that there were multiple signs placed out well in advance of the works. However, having taken further statements from David and his wife who attended with him when he was discharged from hospital, we were able to say that these signage records were incorrect and the signage that Moray Council said that they had erected was just not there.
Accordingly, we raised David’s case at the All Scotland Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh and a Proof date was set for August 2020. Throughout the case, the solicitors for Moray Council denied responsibility for the accident, stating that appropriate signage had been erected and that David was to blame for the accident for going too fast. One month prior to the Court hearing during a Pre-trial Meeting with the solicitors for the Council a sensible offer in settlement was finally made and we were able to recommend this to David for his acceptance.
David was delighted with the result and said “thank you so much for your help over the past couple years; so professional and easy to deal with. I will definitely sing your praises and be the first to point anyone in your direction for help”.