I have been involved in a motorcycle accident and the insurers for the other side immediately accepted liability and paid for the repairs to my bike. I had some modest bumps and bruises, but after a couple of months I had no further problems.
The problem is that I have been put to a great deal of inconvenience by the loss of my bike, which was off the road for seven weeks. By a combination of my girlfriend dropping me off at the station, getting the train in and so on, I have managed to get into work, but it has taken me an extra two and a half hours a day to get in and out of work. It is an inconvenience to my girlfriend who works shifts as a nurse, and whilst the insurers are prepared to pay for my rail fares they are not prepared to pay for the lost time.
They are also not willing to replace my kit. They say that because my helmet and other riding kit was over a year and a half old, they would only pay half of its actual value.
Could you give me a bit of help as to what I should be pushing for with my claim?
The damages you should be looking for in relation to the time that you have spent/lost travelling to and from work is called ‘loss of leisure time’. Many solicitors know about this, and it is quite hard to get a rate for ‘lost leisure time’. I have argued in the past in court that your lost leisure time should reflect your wages, because that is what you are willing to sell your time for. In the main, Judges award a notional sum for lost leisure, which is usually around £5 or E6 per hour, but bearing in mind that this amounts to £12.00 a day over seven weeks is definitely worth arguing for.
It appears to me that your solicitors have not considered the ‘loss of use’ or ‘loss of leisure time’ claim, because even though the insurers are willing to fund your travel into and out of work, you still have the inconvenience of not having your bike at the weekends, or having your own form of transport at the weekends. Your current solicitors should be claiming for loss of use, and this can be up to £100 per week if the inconvenience and loss of use of your bike is really intrusive upon your life, down to £25 if you have only lost your bike for weekend fun. You cannot get ‘double recovery’ – i.e. loss of use and loss of leisure, because it is an award for the same inconvenience.
The arguments you have raised with your kit are ones we see all the time. My argument Is that motorcycle kit is engineered to do a protective job, so that if you fall off, it is only then that it becomes damaged. There is no doubt your helmet needs replacing, and that is simply following Department for Transport guidance.
Helmets last for about five years, if they are used fairly regularly. The DfT say that you should replace them about every three to four years depending on use. Leathers last as long as you want, because nothing short of a crash damages them. I wouldn’t be willing to accept anything more than a 20 per cent reduction.
What your kit’s worth, what your lost leisure time is worth and what your inconvenience is worth are all matters which, ultimately, a judge might have to decide at trial. You may need evidence from a motorcycle kit retailer, if you press on to court but 1 think a Judge would be willing to accept what you say because It makes sense. Good luck.
Fast Bikes Magazine