I was on my regular ride into work, which does involve a bit of filtering. I am pretty careful on how I filter and like to get into work uninjured! I was passing a queue of traffic to my nearside, when I passed a big Asda superstore with a garage to my left. I know cars pull out of there, and was just trickling along – definitely less than 10 miles per hour, in first.
I saw a driver in a car trundle out of the filling station, look straight at me, stop, and then as I was sure I was safe to pass I picked up the speed a little – not more than 20mph – and BAM! She pulled out straight into my path. The woman got out of the car, screaming blue murder. Luckily the police were on scene shortly after the prang and the driver of the car I had just passed confirmed I was travelling at low speed and that I was there to be seen when the driver pulled out.
My insurance appointed solicitors who were always pretty luke warm about my case have already said I am “largely to blame” as I was “overtaking by a junction” and have suggested I take 75 per cent of the blame and have quoted a case called Powell v Moody, which I have looked up on the internet but I am not really any the wiser. My injuries are modest. I have got a wrenched neck and pins and needles in my right hand. I wouldn’t bother with a claim, but I do need to protect my no claims bonus, on my fully comp policy. Is it right that I am largely to blame?”
You have been caught in an unholy mess. Your “lawyers” are owned by an insurance company, and know less about the law than you do. Powell v Moody is a case that has been held by numerous courts to set no precedent and makes no law. These filtering cases turn on their facts and you rode into an area which you could see to be clear and the driver pulling out owed a continuing duty to give way to road users she could see. That includes you.
However, your insurance appointed solicitors firm is run by a bunch of paralegals who know that for the flat fee they will be paid, they will not make a penny out of your claim and will probably lose money if they fight it, so they’ll just give up, as they have done here. Moreover, as a company owned by insurers, they are not likely to want to rock the boat with running slightly more difficult claims. Also, think about it. If your no claims is gone, there is a lot more insurance premium you’ll be paying for the next five years.
Do you really want your corner “fought” (I use the term in an ironic way), by a paralegal whose employers have an interest in you actually losing? In the light of your witness evidence, you should win flat out in Court. However, you will need a proper lawyer, and I’m afraid you’ll be struggling to get one who will not take 25 per cent of your losses. However, your losses are going to be pretty modest. It won’t be 25 per cent of a lot, but you need to sack these clowns before your no claims disappears. To protect yourself, you are going to need to claim, otherwise your insurers will be making all the running and they seem very keen on throwing the towel in and costing you your no claims bonus.
Fast Bikes August 2013