I rode into London on my FZR1000, when an old boy pulled out on me at the head of a queue of traffic. He apologised, I wasn’t badly hurt, but my bike had a lot of plastics damage.
I could have replaced the fairing myself for about £400. The police carted my bike off, and then I heard from a company that offered me a replacement VFR800 which they said I would not have to pay for.
They said I would have to bring a claim for injuries, otherwise I would be technically admitting the accident was my fault and my bike repairs would not be paid off. I saw a Doctor, who I told that I only had a few bruises and I didn’t want to bother with a claim for injuries. My medical report came back saying I was in pain for four weeks, when I’d said I was OK.
19 weeks later, I was told the bike had been written off, then I got sent a bill for storage of nearly £3,000. My solicitor then told me that for a bike worth no more than £2,500, my claim was for about £10,000 motorcycle hire, a replacement helmet I had never heard of, and a whiplash personal injury claim.
So for a bike I could have repaired myself and a few bruises, I have a claim of over £15,000, none of which I am going to see. Am I involved in some sort of scam?
Adey – Hertfordshire
This is a story we hear almost weekly. I don’t think it’s a scam, but it is dubious practice. The bike garage or your insurer gets paid around £300 for recommending a hire bike to you. If they talk up a personal injury claim, then the garage gets £400. The storage is a little bonus for the claims farmer who sells the case on to a solicitor for about £750. So your case owes £1,450 before any work is done.
The case is then racked up so the referrals can be lost in the charges for hire and storage. The solicitor paid for a personal injury claim, so the doctor says what the solicitors want her to say.
Before anyone can make a claim for money allegedly spent on your behalf, you have to be personally liable for the hire and storage, so don’t be too surprised if a clause is buried in the paperwork which makes you liable for all of these costs, as your solicitor says. A solicitor owes you a duty to ensure you don’t get stitched up, but I bet all of this happened before you heard a word from your solicitor.
If you’re already committed before your solicitor gets involved, then the solicitor is only advising you of what your liabilities are, not advising you to get into these liabilities.
So are you involved in a scam? No. It’s legal, but whether or not it is ethical is for you to decide.