Time to hold your hands up

Time to hold your hands up

Why pursue a lost cause? Why not hold your hands up and admit your mistakes…

I was involved in a collision with a black Mini on a roundabout. One witness says I shot onto the roundabout, lost control and hit a blue Fiesta. My insurance appointed solicitors have ‘sent the case to Counsel for advice’ and this Counsel has said my ‘case is without merit’ and refuses to accept what I say – which is the Mini must have changed lanes because it wasn’t there before I was on the roundabout.

If the witness is getting basic stuff like the car and the colour wrong, why would anyone believe him in Court? He says I forced my way between him and a van to his offside, revved hard and literally shot into the side of the Fiesta (no, it was a Mini) he was waiting at the give way line for. He says an accident was inevitable. Well, I wouldn’t ride straight into the side of a car. My injuries are quite severe and kept me off work for the year. I paid for my legal cover, so I want my case in Court.

I’m sure the Judge will see things my way. I have told my solicitor to exclude this driver’s evidence and I think the witness just decided the girl driving the Mini was pretty fit and he wants to help her. In fairness, she was fit.

Anon

While I do notice that pretty women tend to be treated more sympathetically than young men, that is not really the issue here. A witness who was right next to you had stopped to give way to the Mini that was, according to him, moving around the roundabout in a normal way. He goes on to confirm that you forced your way through a gap. Nothing wrong with that, it may irritate car drivers, but we don’t have to wait in queues.

Where I agree with your barrister is that his getting some minor details wrong does not exclude his evidence. Your solicitor cannot exclude his evidence, so telling him to is a waste of time. Your barrister could have a go at this witness in court for getting some things wrong but it wouldn’t make any difference in Court. The witness will probably apologise, say he isn’t very good at car identification, and the judge will just move on.

Your negligence is entering the roundabout at speed (other witnesses confirm this and a lot of witnesses volunteered very critical statements of your riding to the police who attended). The key point is, he says, you entered a roundabout unsighted because a van was to your right, and rode straight into the Mini. Your insurers have paid for the damage to the Mini and you have lost your no claims bonus. The police report says that whilst they think you are in the wrong as you were so badly broken (nasty set of injuries you had) they have decided against prosecuting you for failure to give way or due care and attention, so your suspicion of police anti bike bias won’t hold much water.

Let this one go. If you go to trial you will lose. You still have to explain how your front wheel came to be in the side of the Mini when the Mini was already on the roundabout, and absolutely no one confirms your speculation that ‘she must have moved lane because I wouldn’t just ride into her’ – that is not evidence. That is you guessing at what you think might excuse your riding.

We all make riding errors, but trying to sue someone because of your error is just a waste of time and money. Do not get hung up on small errors witnesses make – or even quite substantial ones unless they go to the heart of the issue – and the colour and make of the car is not at all key. I know the legal policy from your insurers and they do not have to support you if your case does not have reasonable prospects. You have no prospect at all of success.

Your insurance appointed solicitors could (and should) have told you this from the outset. The Mini driver’s insurers have done a very thorough job interviewing and taking statements from witnesses who are all very critical of your riding. Unusually they have revealed these early to your solicitors, I suspect in the hope that you and your hopeless case would go away. Your team of paralegals had not thought about where the evidence was heading and only now has a real, grown up lawyer looked at it and said ‘you’re buggered’. He’s right.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes Magazine – August 2014

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Posted on: September 11, 2014 at 12:00 am

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.

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