I was involved in a pretty straightforward motorcycle accident. Liability is admitted and my solicitor has been arguing with the insurance company about my kit. The argument is this; I bought a new Hein Gericke jacket, with a back protector about four months before the accident. It was a really nice jacket, but it has now been down the road about 50mph with the arms ground through and some pretty vicious tearing on the shoulders.

The jacket was brilliant. I had no broken bones, the armour stayed where it should, but the jacket is now as waterproof as a tea bag and about as protective. I have bought exactly the same jacket – if I cannot believe my own crash test dummy tests then who can I believe?

The insurance company is arguing that my jacket is now ‘improved’ as I have a new jacket. My jacket was only 16 weeks old and I buy an armoured waterproof jacket once every 10 years. They are saying they want 30 per cent off the price, leaving me out of pocket for the thick end of £100. This seems totally unfair.

My solicitors came free with my insurance, but do not seem to know that bike kit lasts for years, but once it has done its job; it’s useless. What can I do?

Name and Address withheld

Your case depends on your own evidence. You buy a new armoured motorcycle jacket every 10 years. That’s perfectly credible. You have bought a decent quality jacket, which has done its job. The fact that it has had 4 months out of its 120 month lifespan means that the aggravation you’ve had to go to, to go to Hein Gericke and buy another jacket, outweighs any of the advantage you might have by having replaced a virtually brand new jacket with a completely brand new jacket.

Stand firm on this element of the case. If your jacket had been a year old, then I would understand the 10 or 20 per cent reduction being argued about, but the particular facts of your case means that you should not accept any reduction. And for what it’s worth, you have a legal expenses insurance policy which means your solicitors should put your reasoned case forward. If they simply lose their nerve, then that leaves you in a difficult position.

The reality is it probably isn’t worth going to court for £100, but if you feel strongly enough about it, you can insist on your Solicitors taking the point to court. What you have to remember is that the assessment of what your claim is worth is an art not a science. One of the things that concerns me is the basic point that kit is massively over engineered, designed to work in horrendous weather circumstances, and to protect you when you fall off a motorcycle at speed, and does not just wear out – as is being put by your current solicitors. You can simply take your motorcycle kit along with a receipt or bank statement showing when you bought it, along to court and show it to the Judge. Let the judge see how tough the materials are, to see how your jacket has dealt with its job of protecting you.

Push this one on to court if you have to. A solicitor with nerve would do so, if you are prepared to take the hassle of going to court over this – and from your details they are among the better ones out there…

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes July 2012

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.