I was seriously injured on the TT course two years ago. I am not a racer, but on Mad Sunday I was riding at a speed I thought was fair enough. I have done a few trackdays and I was riding a high-performance sportsbike when some lunatic, approaching a tightish bend, shot past me as I was braking for the right hander. He quickly realised he wasn’t going to make the bend, yanked on the brakes and straightened up, right across my path.
My helmet-mounted camera shows pretty clearly what happened. I lose speed for the corner, the lunatic comes by me and then you see his front end dip under heavy braking followed by his cutting across my line.
My insurance-appointed solicitors suddenly got very cold feet once an Isle of Man lawyer became involved for the other guy’s insurance company. They have seemed out of their depth for a long time. They have told me my case cannot/should not go forward for various reasons – different reasons on different days, and it depends who I am speaking to.
One guy, who seems to be the most senior, has said that because I was taking part in a race I accept the risk of a road race. He doesn’t get Mad Sunday is not a race. Otherwise I have been told that the law is different on the Isle of Man, or that there was no negligence by the other rider because I went into the back of him. I have also been told that because my riding was “illegal” I cannot bring a claim. Finally they have now said my case has no reasonable prospects of success and they have told me they are not prepared to act.
My legal expenses insurer has said I now have no cover. Any one of these reasons sounds like a crock. Do any of them hold water?
You have a pretty big problem. Here is the real law. The law of the Isle of Man is different, but the principles are the same. The Manx courts apply similar principles of negligence to British (including Scots courts) along with Irish, Canadian, Australian and even American case law.
The lunatic through his own lack of planning put you in harm’s way and his braking and change of line was directly causative of the accident. That is a matter of fact, not law, and the Manx Court would uphold that.
Secondly, you were not racing and even if you were on a race track, everyone else around you has to act with reasonable care and skill. They owe you and you owe them a duty of care not to ride like a biff (I summarise the law of the Isle of Man). The riding being illegal is just nonsense. I think they are trying to wriggle out of representing you on a wrong principle of law.
The real problem is that not a single person who has been involved in your case is a qualified English lawyer, let alone a Manx one. You still have time to salvage this case as your accident was two years ago, and limitation is three years.
Some details have been changed to protect the identity of the questioner
RiDE Legal November 2013