John Hay - Unsigned 'significant step' in the road

I had an accident in the summer of 2014 on an A road in Southern Scotland.

My bike failed to clear an unsigned “significant step” (witness comment) in the road surface at the end of a planed out section.

I was catapulted over the bars and sustained injuries which kept me in hospital for 3 days.

The bike was a total write off. My insurers (Bennetts/Chaucer) sent me a cheque for the value of the bike less excess within two weeks and I also received a sum towards my ruined riding gear and helmet. However, they were not prepared to pursue a claim against the roads authority although I had legal cover.

I contacted a well-known firm of solicitors who advertise on the TV. They agreed to handle my claim. There were 6 witnesses to the accident including the police and ambulance crew. While I was being attended to by the roadside, another motorcyclist came to grief a short distance away in similar circumstances.

The roads authority continued to deny liability and after nearly two years, the solicitors advised me that they were no longer able to proceed with the claim.

Due to my injuries, I had been unable to ride a motorcycle for this period, but at the end of 2016, I bought a replacement machine and attended my local advanced riders group. On advising them that my claim had been dropped, one of the other riders suggested that I contact Brenda Mitchell of Motorcycle Law Scotland.

I attended a meeting with Brenda at the Peebles offices in February 2017. After requesting my file from the previous solicitors, she agreed to handle my claim. The trouble was that, due to the 3 year rule, time was running short.

In a short period of time, they contacted all the witnesses and I met an accident investigator at the site of the accident. I also had a medical carried out by an FRICS surgeon. Papers were served on the roads authority and a date was set for a court hearing.

Motorcycle Law also contacted expert witnesses in civil engineering and motorcycling and their evidence supported my case.

An advocate was appointed to put my case forward.

We were obliged to meet the solicitors representing the roads authority in advance of this date. They considered that I was 50% at fault for not seeing the unsigned step in the road surface!

Although no actual agreement was reached at the meeting, the sides were very close. An offer was made a few days later which I accepted.

I cannot thank Brenda and her team enough. I was kept informed throughout the procedure at all times. I was delighted with the result after fearing that I would not get any compensation for my losses and injuries.

JOHN HAY 

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