I recently purchased a bike from a local dealer. About two weeks later I was coming back from a ride in the countryside when all of a sudden the electrics went and everything was pitched into darkness, as there were no street lights around.
I parked the bike up on the side of the road out of the way of traffic and went to call for help. As I walked away a car sped down the road and straight into the back of my bike. Now I am being sued by the driver. Can I defend this claim or claim against anyone?
In itself, an unlit vehicle on a road at night is not evidence that it has been placed there negligently. There must be some fault on the part of the person that placed it there and it must create a danger to others. You put the bike on the road, it was unlit, so you must prove that it was not your fault. In the circumstances however, the condition of the bike is not your fault and you have done all you could to place the bike out of danger while you went for help. You could not have done anything more. The Car driver should have been driving slowly enough to see potential hazards on a country road and therefore, it is likely that he has contributed to his own accident in some way.
You also have a potential action against the bike dealership. The law states that any good sold must be fit for their purpose, which in terms of a vehicle must include night use. You are therefore fully within your rights to go back to the garage and claim for the loss of the vehicle, as well as your financial losses incurred through the car driver’s claim.
A few weeks ago I took my son’s pride and joy 125cc bike, which he uses for college and getting around which had its annual full 24 point service at a local garage. When I was riding the bike back home the clutch cable snapped. I managed to get home and phoned the garage. They said that this must have been something that was due to my riding of the bike and not their fault. This is absurd. Where do I stand?
Essentially, when servicing a bike, the repairer has duties in law to exercise reasonable care and skill, and it appears that in this case this has not been done. You need to be able to relate the damage to the bike with the service and prove that the clutch cable was damaged before the service and that this is something that should have been replaced. If your service was a full 24 point service, this should clearly have been checked. The best way of doing this is to get an engineers report, which should show that the damage had been present for a certain period of time and that in a normal service would have been replaced. An engineers report may be expensive, so weigh up the costs of this with the costs of replacing the clutch cable. In the circumstances the best option may well be to go and get the cable replaced at another shop and get them to verify the cause of the break. This should be good enough evidence for a Judge. It is also sensible to write to the garage, seeking reimbursement of your costs, and a reasonable payment for the expense incurred by your sons loss of use for the time the bike is out of action.
Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.