I overtook a BMW Z3 who then put his foot down. I gave the bike a bit more and got past with no more problems. I was riding at about 80 in a 60. I then saw a van unloading so I started braking and positioned myself to look round the van. There was an oncoming Transit, so I was coming to a stop. Then the Z3 arse-ended me, leaving a 30-foot skidmark, which I photographed on my phone.
I was sent for a medical report and thought I’d wait for the cheque. I missed an important Army course to get my promotion to Sergeant, but should be put back on the course next year.
Then my solicitors advised me that as I had overtaken and cut back in, the accident was my fault. They quoted Smith v Cribben, which says the overtaking vehicle is always presumed to be at fault. They are pressuring me to take a 50/50 split. If this is right it seems very unfair to me. Are they right?
Full Screw, Catterick
They are wrong, no question. The police report noted the skid, your photo is excellent. The Tesco van driver backs up your version of events and said so on the day to the police at the scene. The case your solicitors are referring to turned on very different facts, and the duty of an overtaken driver is to continue on a steady path. In Smith, a car driver went for an ill advised overtake, his car did not have the guts to complete the overtake before the dual carriageway came to an end, and ended up crashing. The Court of Appeal said, “If you get an overtake wrong you put yourself in that position and the driver being overtaken should just stay steady.” This is not what happened here. You had completed an overtake. You were riding briskly, fair enough, but you could come to a stop for a foreseeable hazard – and did so. The Z3 muppet couldn’t. He ran into the back of you. You should not accept any reduction. Your admitted speed played no part in the accident, as you were already stopping. You have done nothing wrong. The forensic evidence (the skidmark) the independent witness evidence (Tesco van driver) and the law all support your case 100 per cent. Get rid of your current solicitors because they are simply not representing you and your case well. The car driver’s insurance company are running rings around them and they have made too many howling errors. They have got the law wrong, cannot understand evidence or the effect of your injury on your trade as a soldier. With a back injuryto a young soldier you need to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon. Make sure the surgeon who reports on you understands the military role you have. What you cannot afford is a medical discharge five years after your case has finished because your back cannot withstand soldiering. Get it right first time because you cannot go back for more and get the justice you deserve.
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.