Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users; bikers face many risks every time they get on their bikes. If you’re wiped out as a result of another road user’s careless actions, injuries from these serious motorcycle accidents can be severe, even life-changing. That’s why it’s important that if you’re injured you work with experts who not only know the law but know what makes motorcyclists different from other road users.
At JMW Solicitors, we have more than 35 years of expertise working with bikers and understand that two-wheeled riders are far more vulnerable to injury than motorists. Motorbikes don’t have crumple zones and, therefore, despite moving at the same speeds as a car, they don’t have the same level of protection. We also know that a defective road surface can be extremely dangerous to riders; a bumpy ride over a pothole for a motorist can be uncomfortable, but for a motorbike rider, it can lead to being thrown off your bike and put at serious risk of sustaining an injury. Loose stone chippings cause similar problems for bikers; they don’t just give you a bumpy ride, they put you in danger of coming off your bike.
We recognise and understand the differences between car and motorbike accidents and injuries, and how compensation can help. This enables us to ensure your motorcycle accident claim is dealt with empathetically, that you receive the right treatment, make a good recovery, and receive compensation that takes into account all losses you may have suffered after a serious motorcycle accident.
If you want to make a motorbike accident claim, JMW has experts that can work on your behalf to get the best results. To speak to a solicitor about motorcycle negligence, contact us now by calling 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will call you back as soon as possible.
How JMW Can Help
We understand what it means to be a biker, what happens after a serious motorcycle accident, and what you will need to get your life back on track. Not all motorcycling injuries are caused by collisions with other vehicles - we have handled claims for both bikers and pillion passengers.
Our goal is to make sure that you’re able to focus on making a recovery, and not on the stress of dealing with any issues that an accident may cause. Our team act for you on a no win, no fee basis, meaning that in the event your claim is unsuccessful we won’t charge you any legal fees. We have established experts who will advise on every element of your case and are familiar with the evidence needed in order to get the best possible result for you.
We will arrange for you to have rehabilitation and the most appropriate medical treatments needed for your injury so that you can start the recovery process quickly and make significant progress in your recovery from the early stages. If necessary, we can work with you and a case manager to get a care plan to best suit your needs.
You are also entitled to be compensated for any financial losses you have suffered as a result of your accident, including time taken off work, damaged kit and accessories, and of course, the cost of repair or replacement of your bike. We will help you review all the losses you’ve suffered and put together a case that gets you money back for them.
In addition, we can arrange for a like-for-like replacement if your bike is no longer roadworthy, or for a car if you’re unable to ride because of your injuries.
Mark Challenger's Story
What to Do Following a Motorcycle Accident
There are a number of things you can do to help your motorcycle accident claim. However, you should only follow these steps if you are well and able.
Once you’re safe and any immediate medical needs have been attended to, you should try to:
- Take down the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Photograph the scene, including what caused the accident and the damage to any vehicles involved.
- Contact the police and report the accident as soon as possible. This should be a priority if the driver flees the scene.
How are injuries from road and motorcycle accidents classified?
Police usually categorise road traffic injuries into five levels:
- Fatal: involving loss of life.
- Very serious: includes severe trauma like a broken neck or spine, brain injuries and difficulty breathing. Unconsciousness and multiple severe injuries also fall under this category.
- Moderately serious: partial limb loss, fractures in the thigh or pelvis, deep wounds, and chest injuries.
- Less serious: minor head injuries, deep lacerations and fractures in the arms or legs.
- Slight: injuries such as shock, bruising, minor sprains and strains, as well as superficial cuts.
Motorbike riders and their passengers face specific types of accidents and injuries:
In a 'Lowside' accident, the rear tire loses grip, often causing the rider to fall off the bike, usually at speed. This can result in severe skin abrasions, bruising and broken bones. Because roads are dirty, the risk of infection from these skin abrasions is higher. In extreme cases, the rider may slide into lanes with oncoming traffic.
In a 'Highside' accident, the rider comes off the bike, usually over the handlebars or off the side. These motorcycle accidents occur when the rear tire suddenly regains traction after a skid, causing the bike to jerk upright forcefully. These accidents can result in significant head and arm injuries.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive in a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
How much compensation you can claim following a motorcycle accident will typically depend on the type and severity of the injuries you sustained. If your injuries following the motorbike accident were serious and required private medical treatment or time off work to recover, you may also be able to claim for these and other financial expenses you incurred as a result of your accident.
The figures below provide a rough idea of how much you could receive for a motorcycle accident compensation claim, based on the Judicial College Injury Tables. For a more accurate calculation of how much compensation you could be entitled to, based on your own circumstances, contact JMW today.
|Minor brain or head injury||£1,760 - £10,180|
|Minor to moderate brain damage||£12,210 - £174,620|
|Minor to moderate knee injury||£13,000 - £38,000|
|Loss of one leg below the knee||£83,550 - £109,570|
|Loss of both legs below the knee||£160,600 - £215,310|
|Hip and pelvis injury||£3,150 - £104,370|
|Minor to serious arm injury||£5,280 - £47,720|
|Loss of one arm below the elbow||£76,650 - £87,410|
|Shoulder injury||£6,290 - £15,300|
Uninsured and Untraced Drivers
If the driver who caused your accident is found to be uninsured or fled the scene and can’t be traced, you will still be able to make a motorbike accident claim. However, rather than your compensation being paid by the defender’s insurer, which is usually the case, your solicitor will deal with the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB). The MIB is a government organisation set up to ensure victims of road traffic accidents have access to the compensation they deserve.
To make a claim with the MIB, there are certain criteria you must have met, including:
- Doing everything in your power to identify the driver responsible for your injuries.
- Reporting the accident to the police within five days of the accident.
- Making a claim with the MIB within nine months of the accident.
Your solicitor will work with you to assist in making sure your motorbike accident compensation claim meets these necessary criteria, and work with the MIB to secure you the maximum compensation possible in these circumstances.
We understand that for many people, biking is not just a hobby, but a way of life, and we approach all motorbike accident claims with that in mind. You can be sure that our specialist knowledge ensures the claim process is as quick and efficient as possible for all motorcycle cases.
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FAQs about Motorcycle Accident Claims
What types of compensation can I seek in a motorcycle accident claim?
If you've had a motorcycle accident and you're looking to make a claim, you can generally seek several types of compensation:
- Medical costs: this includes hospital bills, doctor visits, physiotherapy, and any other medical expenses you've had to bear because of the accident.
- Lost wages: if you've had to take time off work due to your injuries, you could claim for the money you would have earned during that time.
- Property damage: if your motorcycle or any other personal belongings were damaged, you can claim the costs to repair or replace them.
- Future costs: if your injuries will require ongoing medical treatment or affect your ability to work in the future, you might also be able to claim for these anticipated expenses.
Is there a time limit for filing a motorcycle accident claim?
The time limit for filing a motorcycle accident claim is typically three years from the date of the accident.
It's important to note a couple of exceptions to this rule:
- Children: if the person involved in the accident is under 18, the three-year time limit doesn't start until their 18th birthday. So, they would have until they turn 21 to make a claim.
- Mental capacity: if the injured party lacks the mental capacity to make a claim, there may be no time limit until they regain the capacity to do so.
Failing to file a claim within the three-year time frame could mean that you lose the right to seek compensation, so it's usually a good idea to speak with a legal advisor as soon as possible to get the process started.
What evidence should I gather to support my motorcycle accident claim?
If you're involved in a motorcycle accident in the UK and are considering making a claim, collecting the right evidence can significantly strengthen your case. Here are some types of evidence that could be useful:
- Medical records: gather all records and receipts relating to your medical treatment. This helps to establish the severity of your injuries and the costs incurred for treatment.
- Photographs: take photos of the accident scene, your injuries and any damages to your motorcycle or other property.
- Witness statements: if there were any witnesses to the accident, their accounts could be invaluable. Get their contact details and, if possible, written statements.
- CCTV footage: if the accident was captured on CCTV cameras, this could provide indisputable evidence. You'll need to act quickly to obtain this footage before it's deleted.
- Lost wages: keep records of any time you've had to take off work due to your injuries, as well as any impact on your future earning capacity.
- Travel expenses: keep receipts for any travel costs associated with medical appointments or other claim-related activities.
- Diary or journal: consider keeping a detailed account of your physical and emotional state following the accident. This can be used to support a claim for pain and suffering.
- Insurance details: keep all correspondence with insurance companies, as these can sometimes be used in your claim.
- Legal documents: any pre-existing contracts, like your own insurance policy, can sometimes affect your motorcycle accident compensation claim, so have these to hand as well.
How is fault determined in a motorcycle accident claim?
Determining fault in a motorcycle accident claim often involves a thorough investigation and can be influenced by various factors. Some of the key considerations are as follows:
- Police report: the police may have attended the scene of the accident and compiled a report, which could include observations and preliminary assessments of who was at fault.
- Traffic laws: violations of the Highway Code or other traffic laws can strongly suggest who was at fault. For instance, if a car driver was speeding or ran a red light, that could be seen as negligent behaviour.
- Eyewitness testimony: statements from people who witnessed the accident can be crucial. They might have seen something that the involved parties didn't, or provide an impartial account of events.
- Photographic and video evidence: photographs of the scene of the motorbike accident, skid marks or vehicle positions can provide clues about what happened. CCTV footage, if available, can be a very strong form of evidence.
- Vehicle damage: the extent and location of damage to the motorcycle and any other vehicles involved can sometimes indicate fault.
- Personal testimonies: both parties involved in the accident will have their own account of what happened. These accounts are considered but should be backed up with other forms of evidence for greater credibility.
- Insurance investigations: insurance companies will conduct their own assessments to determine fault, often using similar forms of evidence to those listed above.
- Admission of guilt: sometimes one of the involved parties may admit fault at the scene of the motorbike accident or later, which can simplify the determination of liability but should still be verified.
- Legal interpretation: ultimately, if the case goes to court, it will be up to the legal system to formally determine who was at fault based on the presented evidence.
How long does it typically take to resolve a motorcycle accident claim?
The length of time it takes to resolve a motorcycle accident claim in the UK can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Here are some general guidelines:
- Straightforward cases: for simple cases where liability is clear and injuries are minor, the process could be resolved in a more timely manner than in complex cases.
- Complex cases: if the case involves serious injuries, disputes over who is at fault, or multiple parties, it could take a year or more to resolve. Some exceptionally complicated cases can take several years.
- Legal proceedings: if the case ends up going to court, the timeline can extend significantly, especially if there are appeals.
- Medical assessments: sometimes it's necessary to wait until the claimant reaches a 'point of maximum medical improvement' (the stage where you've recovered as much as you're going to from an injury or illness) to fully understand the extent of the injuries and what compensation might be appropriate. This can delay the settlement process.
- Negotiation period: both parties usually engage in a period of negotiation before arriving at a settlement, which can also add time to the process.
- Evidence gathering: the time it takes to collect all necessary evidence, such as medical reports, witness statements and police reports, can also affect how long the claim process takes.
- Insurance companies: the responsiveness and cooperation of the involved insurance companies can also impact the length of time required to resolve a claim.
Can I still pursue a claim if I was partially at fault for the accident?
You can still pursue a motorcycle accident claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident. This is known as "contributory negligence”. In such cases, the compensation you might receive will usually be reduced in proportion to your level of fault.
For example, if it's determined that you were 25% responsible for the accident, you might receive 75% of the total compensation amount you would have been awarded had you not been at fault at all.
Can I make a motorcycle accident claim on behalf of someone else?
On occasions, motorcycle accidents result in severe injuries, such as those affecting the head, brain or spinal cord, rendering the injured person incapable of filing a claim themselves.
Under these circumstances, you could act as a "litigation friend" if you are a trusted member of the family, thereby initiating a claim on their behalf.
Should a loved one be involved in a fatal motorcycle accident, you may also be eligible to claim for bereavement damages, funeral costs and dependent support.
Can I claim for a motorbike accident that was caused by a hit-and-run driver?
You can claim compensation if you were injured in a hit-and-run while on your motorcycle. Instead of going after the driver's insurance, you can file your claim with the MIB.
Can I claim for a motorbike accident that was caused by poor road conditions?
You can claim motorcycle accident compensation if bad or unsafe road conditions caused your motorcycle crash. Whether it's motorways, which are looked after by National Highways, or smaller roads taken care of by local councils, they have a job to keep roads safe for everyone. If the roads are not kept safe and sufficient warning signs are not displayed, you may be able to make a motorbike accident claim if you suffered an injury.
Will I need to go to court for my motorbike accident claim?
Most personal injury claims are settled outside of court. If the other driver or organisation disputes your claim and it isn’t possible to settle out of court, you may be required to appear in court. However, this is rare.
Can I receive interim payments for my motorcycle accident compensation?
If you've had a severe motorbike accident, you might need financial compensation to cover immediate expenses like travel, your mortgage or rent, or special equipment. You might also be getting less money than usual if you're off work sick and could be struggling to pay bills or your mortgage. The motorcycle accident claims team at JMW can help you get some money upfront while your claim is being sorted and will guide you through how it works.
Talk to Us
If you have been injured in a serious motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault and want to claim compensation, contact the JMW team to talk through the next steps of your accident claim. You can either call us on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form and let us know a suitable time to contact you.