Bob is a train driver from Broughty Ferry, Dundee and a very pleasant man. He's an experienced motorcyclist and he has toured extensively throughout Europe.
Motorcycle Collision Circumstances
In May 2018, he was out for a ride on his Suzuki Hayabusa, enjoying a sunny journey in the Highlands with four of his colleagues who are also all train drivers.
He was riding West from Laggan Wolftrax towards Spean Bridge on the A86 with Loch Laggan on his left hand side and was leading the group.He was negotiating an 'S' bend which turned right and then left so he dropped down a gear entering the 'S" bend. Prior to entering the left hand bend, he took up a position to the right of his carriageway in order to give himself maximum visibility.As he proceeded around the bend, he was suddenly confronted with Toyota 4x4 towing a trailer which was pulling out of a layby to his left hand side but travelling straight across the road in front of him towards the opposing carriageway.
Bob had no option but to slam on his brakes, and in doing so, his motorcycle high-sided and he was catapulted over the trailer and eventually landed on the road surface. Bob suffered a fracture to his shoulder and his ribs. His motorcycle was written off and all his protective clothing and helmet were damaged. An ambulance took him to hospital in Fort William and he was off work for three months.
Bob spoke to his insurer, MCE, about the incident and was referred to a panel solicitor to handle his personal injury claim. Bob did not know that he had an option of choosing his own specialist personal injury solicitor. He thought he just had to accept the panel solicitor instructed by MCE. It was only after speaking with fellow motorcyclists who told him he should get Motorcycle Law Scotland to take on his case, that he decided to look into things further. He studied our website, read some of the testimonials and immediately approached Motorcycle Law Scotland to ask for assistance in obtaining compensation for his injuries, loss of earnings, and damaged bike and kit.
Intimating the claim for injuries, damage and loss | The Insurer's position.
We took over Bob's case but when we intimated the claim to the insurers for the Toyota 4x4 driver, we were shocked to hear that they denied responsibility altogether and actually blamed the collision on Bob for travelling too fast. Insurers often cite case law such as Arnot v Sprake (2001) which involved a motorcyclist and an agricultural vehicle colliding on a left hand bend and where, on appeal, the motorcyclist was found to be 100% to blame. The Judge believed the onus was on the motorcyclist to ride in a manner that would not put him at risk of being surprised by what was around the next bend.
Proving negligence | Witness Statements | Expert report
We, however, argued that it was negligent for their driver to pull out from a layby on the wrong side of the road, so close to a blind bend. We were able to point to a similar case, Adam Russell v NFU, which we had won in Court in 2014 where the Judge had ruled the driver had failed to take all reasonable precautions when emerging from a field close to a bend and there had been no evidence the motorcyclist had done anything wrong. In this case, the driver was deemed to be 100% to blame as there was no evidence of speed and sight-lines were reduced for both driver and motorcyclist.
We were able to obtain statements from the other motorcyclists behind Bob on the day who all confirmed they were travelling at a reasonable speed and within the speed limit. We also instructed an expert report from a collision investigator who confirmed that the Toyota Hilux 4x4 driver would not have been able to see approaching traffic based on where he was parked in the layby too close to the bend. He also pointed out that there were plenty of other available laybys in the vicinity adjacent to the other side of the road.
The report concluded that given the positioning of the Toyota 4x4 and trailer in the layby, the proximity to the left-hand bend, the time taken to cross the road from a standing start and the motorcycle skid marks that Bob could not reasonably have been able to avoid the collision based on his speed of travel.
Raising the case in ASPIC
However, the insurers still refused to admit responsibility and so we immediately advised Bob to raise his case at the All Scotland Personal Injury Court (ASPIC) in Edinburgh. Despite all the evidence lodged in support of his case, the insurers for the driver of the Toyota 4x4 refused to make any offers of compensation to Bob in respect of the incident.
Pre- Trial Meeting
We attended a Pre-Trial Meeting in Edinburgh with the solicitors on the other side but they were still unwilling to make a suitable offer to Bob for what had happened to him. After that meeting, and only six weeks prior to a Proof Hearing scheduled at Court, the defenders finally conceded liability and made a satisfactory settlement proposal.
Bob was delighted with the result saying:
"I’d heard about MLS through word of mouth and so glad I got in touch with them. They have been patient, reassuring and professional in dealing with my case. They had to build up my case to prove my innocence after the defending insurance company blamed myself for the accident. It’s taken 18 months for the insurance company to admit liability and I now feel justice has been served. Thank you MLS. I can’t rate you highly enough. I’m glad I had you in my corner.”