My fully insured Ducati 1198 was involved in an accident where I broke my wrist and shoulder. The police were happy I was not to blame. I was told by my brokers I had to use a firm of Solicitors that my insurers ‘recommended’, otherwise I was in breach of my contract. My insurers said I have to use them as, ‘it is in my best interests to use a firm we have vetted and we can recommend’.

The Solicitors admitted they were in a joint venture with my brokers, which involved the insurers being paid to ‘initially consider’ the case; it sounds like a bung to me. I want my bike repaired by my local Ducati dealership – they want my bike repaired by someone else, and now these muppets are saying that I should take equal blame for speeding on the basis that Judges don’t like bikers.

I paid for legal expenses insurance on my policy and it now seems to me that this is being used as a method just to dick me about. Who’s right?

Name withheld

You are. You have every right to change your Solicitors. Your claim has been sold to these Solicitors and it’s outrageous that your brokers have said you have to use their panel Solicitors, just because this insurer pays £750 for a referral. I have also carried out a check on the Law Society website and the person dealing with your claim is not a Solicitor, nor is the supervisor.

Whether or not judges dislike bikers is neither here nor there. In my experience, Judges are less prone to prejudice against bikers than other members of the community, but a judge will have to make a finding of speed on your part based on evidence.

Luckily, the Police can show where your skid mark started which was less than 20 metres away from where this car pulled out in a 60 mph zone, which shows that you reacted virtually on top of the car pulling out. Your case is one where you should concede nothing in contributory negligence, and you need to get away from the type of law firm that has to buy in work.

In so far as using an ‘approved repairer’ is concerned this depends on your contract of insurance. Your policy of insurance doesn’t appear to have any clause that gives your insurers the right to choose who repairs your motorcycle. They simply have the option of writing your bike off or paying for repairs.

Unfortunately you have become involved in the seedy world of the buying and selling of claims. The advice you have received is wrong. Your insurers cannot refuse to pay out on the claim because you are not playing the game with them of allowing your claim to be bought and sold to Solicitors. Your actual insurers are perfectly happy for you to use your local dealership and have no requirement to use any Solicitor, accident management company or repairer. These dodgy requirements all came from the broker.

Always choose your own solicitors.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes September 2011 – Clear cut case clouded

Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.