Motorcyclist with horrific injuries and no memory of the incident was told he had carried out an unsafe overtake and couldn't claim... until we came to his rescue.
“On the basis of the above evidence, it appears that you have commenced your overtaking manoeuvre after the JCB was already established on the road in his right turn manoeuvre and you have carried out this manoeuvre when it was unsafe to do so. Accordingly, it is unlikely that we will be able to prove fault on the part of the JCB driver. If we are unable to prove fault, it follows that we will not be able to recover any damages for you.”
And so it was that Gordon Luke asked for our help.
Gordon had received the above letter from his Personal Injury lawyers turning down his claim.He had been involved in a motorcycling collision on the 20th March 2018. He had been so badly injured in the collision that he had no memory of the event at all. All he knew was what he had been told by others. He had been riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle on the B815 overtaking a line of traffic, when a young tractor driver had turned right across his path. Gordon was thrown from his motorcycle and struck a fence. He suffered the following injuries:
- Head injury
- Blow-out fracture of his left eye socket
- Multiple rib fractures
Fracture to left arm
- Multiple left-hand fractures
- Spinal fractures
and most devastating of all, a traumatic below left knee amputation.
Gordon had instructed a well known PI firm to take on his case but, following investigations, they told him he had overtaken when it had been unsafe to do so.
We took up the challenge and started from scratch re-visiting evidence. It became apparent that the previous solicitors had not spoken to all the police officers and most importantly they missed out the collision investigator. We arranged to meet with him and uncovered the following images.
Even if Gordon had been executing an overtake, there was no conceivable way the tractor driver turning right and looking in his mirrors would have seen Gordon as they were completely caked in mud. As Gordon was overtaking, he would not have seen the indicators as they were in the wrong position. When travelling on the road, the indicator cluster must be positioned horizontally so that any signal can be easily seen.
Armed with this new evidence, we then got to work on all the medical investigations instructing no less than 7 different medical experts, a needs and care expert and a specialist road collision expert. This was set to be a battle with an insurer who was convinced we had a poor case against them.
Determined to fight for Gordon, we raised a case for him in the Court of Session and pulled in some of the best Counsel at the Scottish Bar to bolster his legal team. The insurer and their instructed solicitor held firm and the case was set down for a final 8-day hearing on the 24th August 2021.
Liability was denied and at a pre-trial meeting we were told there would be no offer.
With one week to go in a frank discussion with the defenders, we were told that their instruction was to fight the case. We were ready. All our preparations were complete and although we couldn’t rely on Gordon to tell us how the accident had happened, we took the view the tractor driver had turned right without checking his mirror and if he had tried to look in it before turning right, he wouldn’t have seen a thing.
At the 11th hour, a substantial offer came in – we refused. It wasn’t good enough. A second offer was made and still we held out. Finally, with just two days to go, we received the offer we wanted and Gordon accepted.
He was awarded a substantial 6 figure sum that will enable him to get the surgery and the prosthetic he needs. No doubt Gordon will use some of his compensation to buy a new trike!
Lesson learned - if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, please always go to a specialist lawyer. If your lawyer doesn’t know how to ride a motorcycle, they are likely to make the same decision that Gordon’s first lawyer did.
It’s a happy ending to a case that could have ended up with a massive miscarriage of justice had Gordon not been told about us and all for want of proper investigation and believing in the motorcyclist.
At the end of the case, Allison Ward, Gordon's sister, had this to say:
"My brother was involved in an accident when his motorcycle collided with a JCB resulting in catastrophic injuries; left leg amputation, fractured eye socket, broken back in 5 places, 20 ribs severely broken requiring metal frame to rebuild his rib cage, arm was badly broken, both lungs punctured and in a coma for 2 weeks.
When he was finally on the road to recovery we contacted a well known PI firm to proceed with his personal injury claim. After a few months of them investigating they came back and said there was nothing they could do to help him and could not take it any further.
Then one of his friends suggested Motorcycle Law Scotland who specialise in motorcycle accidents. From there on we dealt with Brenda Mitchell who examined the details and then took on the case.
Brenda was fantastic, she kept in contact with us regularly and came out to visit a few times. She held video calls to keep us informed, she instructed a full accident report to be carried out, she contacted the police and the witnesses in the case and basically left no stone unturned.
Brenda also organised for my brother to be assessed by several medical professionals to discover the real extent of his injuries as well as the lasting and lifelong effects these would have on his life.
She then proceeded towards a court case but the defenders would not engage. Brenda pushed on and at the last minute they made an offer which was rejected. They made a 2nd offer then finally a 3rd which was accepted. This was a substantial amount and will help to pay for the operations that Gordon requires.
I can honestly say that without the expertise, hard work, dedication and professionalism of Brenda Mitchell and all her staff at Motorcycle Law, my brother would never have got justice for the pain and suffering he would have had to endure for the rest of his life. Hopefully, with this payment, he can get the medical attention he needs to make life as easy as possible for him. So if anyone is wondering whom you should contact to help you through what is probably the most difficult time of your life, then I can quite confidently recommend Motorcycle Law.
Thank you so much to Brenda and the team for everything you have done to make this possible."