A few days ago I look my Yamaha R1 to a bike dealer to have some work done. I had asked him to order in a carbon fibre mudguard and dropped the bike off as arranged. I left my bike on the dealer’s forecourt and gave him the keys.
As I was there I decided to take out the new Fireblade demonstrator bike. An hour later the dealer called and said some spotty kid driving a Corsa had knocked my bike over while it was stood on the forecourt.
I went back and saw the bike had damage to the fairing. The dealer had the details of the muppet driver who reversed into my bike and said it was down to me to claim on my insurance or against the muppet kid. I disagreed and said that as the bike was in his care and control it was down to him to sort it out. I also said the work I had originally asked him to do would have to wait until the repairs were done. The dealer was not happy but has since told his own insurer to pursue the muppet kid and says he will fix my bike.
In the circumstances do I have to tell my own insurer? The cost of repairs is less than the excesses on my policy so I don’t want to risk my no claims bonus. Lastly, the dealer says I must have the work I originally booked in because I specifically got him to order the carbon fibre front mudguard and this was a special order and cannot be returned. I did not know this before and there is nothing in writing.
Firstly, as your bike was in the dealer’s care, he ‘prima facie’ has a duty to fix any damage sustained to your bike during this period, even where Mr Young Corsa Driver reverses into it. Further, it follows the dealer or his insurer can pursue the lad who did not see your ‘invisible’ R1. As he is fixing the bike I wouldn’t let it trouble you too much.
As for your question: “In the circumstances do I have to tell my own insurer?’ I suspect the answer is yes. In short you need to check your insurance policy as it is usual that you have to report all accidents and failure to do so will be in breach of the terms, breaching the terms of the policy could result in invalidating the policy, even if you are not claiming. You should note that if you are not claiming because the dealer is fixing the damage it will not affect your no claims bonus.
With regards to the work you had booked in, if you had an oral contract for the bike to undergo work and the dealer has purchased special parts then I am of the opinion you are liable for the cost of those parts. In addition, even if you have no such agreement, the convenience of obtaining the repairs from the dealer to the damage sustained instead of having to claim off your insurance or the negligent driver may be a whole load easier of you let the dealer undertake the work you originally organised to have performed. This is not a legal point, but merely a practical solution. After all, if Mr Young Corsa Driver had not knocked over your bike, the dealer would have done the work as planned and you would have had to pay for it.
Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast
Motorcycle Monthly September 2013
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.