I was riding my old CBR600 in London, when I heard a wail of sirens behind me. I checked over my shoulder and moved to the left, into a bus lane giving a quick signal. As I moved into the bus lane the police car had changed its position from behind me into the bus lane. I got skittled off my bike and was off work for four weeks. As I was hit from behind I thought I was pretty safe in assuming I would have an easy run in getting my bike paid for and my lost wages.
I got my insurance appointed solicitors who I thought could not cock up a case this straight forward, but they have advised me to take 80 per cent of the blame for entering a bus lane in front of an emergency vehicle – and if they fail to get 20 percent they have said they won’t take my case any further as the ‘law is complicated’.
They sent me to a hotel room where a doctor looked me over, but so far that’s all they’ve done. Am I right, or just too thick to understand the law?
Ex CBR Pilot, London NW
You’re the one in the right. The police driver owes a high duty of care to proceed with caution when driving in excess of the speed limit. The Association of Chief Police Officers give clear guidance to emergency responders, and one thing they actively warn drivers to consider is that other road users might respond in an unpredictable way, and your response was pretty predictable.
The law is even clearer, placing a high duty of care on emergency drivers. They get cut some slack when people do daft things in front of them, but they can’t rely on blue lights and sirens to cut through everything. A siren is no warning to a deaf person, for example. Your response was one which was utterly predictable. He should not be charging along next to the pavement anyway, he’s much safer in a travelling lane rather than a bus lane. As you heard the sirens suddenly it seems likely to me the officer had just got the emergency shout.
You need to be careful with that knee. We often find that a knee giving way in an otherwise fit individual is the first sign of real damage to the network of tendons that stabilise the knee. These can be career threatening injuries, or at least require a ligament rebuild. Don’t be too quick to think it is a strain.
The law firm your case has been sold to is well known to us. The clever ‘lawyer’ telling you the law is too complicated Is wrong (and Is neither clever nor a lawyer). As regular readers know, a lot of these firms who buy work in from your brokers at £750 per case have a limited time to reject the cases to get their referral fee back. They also have given up most of their fees in even a middle sized case to buy it off your broker to have a qualified, let alone experienced lawyer, look over your case. A quick check of the Law Society’s website revealed the person dealing with your case has no more legal qualifications than you. Makes you think, doesn’t it…
Fast Bikes Magazine – October 2011
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.