Over the years, since I first specialised in 1993 in motorcycle accident personal injury claims, I have seen good claims struggle because of lack of evidence gathered from the scene.
What I say is developed and battle proven in close to 20 years of trial experience. Not many other lawyers are going to be able to say that to you. Very few solicitors are trial lawyers, and do not have the experience of what cuts it in real court, rather than making points in letters.
If you have a motorcycle accident or crash here is what you need to do straight away. However the motorcycle accident is caused, here are some top tips to give yourself the best fighting chance of winning in Court, or bringing a successful motorcycle personal injury claim.
Exchange information with the other party or parties involved in the motorcycle accident. Keep calm. An “effing and blinding” motorcyclist fulfils a lot of stereotypes of the speeding and aggressive motorcyclist and can totally turn witnesses. There is a study from Leicester University that noted that drivers of perceived fast cars were driving more quickly than little town cars – even though the speeds were identical. A motorcycle is a fast and noisy thing, usually ridden by tough looking guys or wild biker chicks. As a 42 year R1200 GS rider I know these stereotypes are nonsense but I have been a biker since I was 17. Even the police will treat with real caution the stories of speeding bikers appearing out of nowhere. Don’t get involved in an argument at the scene. If it is likely to get ugly definitely call the police. In fact, always call the police. Getting them to actually come out is a different story.
In an ideal world you might ask for a driving licence and insurance companies but all we need to trace an insurer and a registered keeper is a UK number plate. If it is a hit and run motorcycle accident you must get the police involved. Use your mobile phone camera. The identity of who was driving is an issue surprisingly often. It is not often we come across cars that have alleged false number plates but it is something we see occasionally. A picture of the driver and the car kills off the “not my car, I wasn’t there” (surprisingly common) or the car being reported as stolen.
When you have your camera phone out, take as many photos as you can of the road layout, where vehicles are and anything else you think might be of interest at the scene of the motorcycle accident. I have had to rely on camera phone photos in Court many times, especially in defective roadway accidents. If you fell off on a loose road surface the hardest thing I have to prove is where that gravel came from. If you have photos and a sample from the scene of the motorcycle accident then you have made my job in bringing a personal injury claim go from the near impossible to the very much easier.
If you are trying to help an injured motorcyclist – especially in a “highways case” the state of the road is key, but that is not enough. We need to show the source of the material that fetched the rider off. A gravel sample has won me many cases, and I have had to decline to press on with cases where there is just not enough evidence.
Photos of a street name or junction sign helps place the photo. Remember this is not CSI, the Court will believe your photos are honest unless there is evidence of fraud.
Motorcycle Accident Claim – Checklist
Exchange Information – Number plates, driving licence and insurance companies
Call the Police
Take Photos – Accident scene, road layout, road surface, other vehicles
Take a sample of the road surface if you came off on gravel or similar
Solicitor Advocate & Barrister
Law Society Personal Injury Panel.
Senior Partner White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors
Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a GSX1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
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