If you’re downed by ice on the road, is there any recourse to recovering your damages?
I took my bike out on a dry and really cold day to blast out some Christmas cobwebs. On my journey home, my bike shot out from underneath me without warning.
It turns out that another biker had been using his jet wash to hose down his green lane bike, leaving a big sheet of ice on the road. I got off pretty lightly, with a stiff back for a few weeks, but I have a lot of cosmetic damage to my bike that is taking a while to put right. The jet wash guy was utterly mortified by what had happened, but his insurers have told me they are not going to pay for my losses as, “the incident did not arise from the normal use of a vehicle.” This does not seem fair.
I have got the legal advisers that came with my insurance on the case but they have told me I just have to suck it up and pay my excess. They are also insisting my bike must be repaired at their approved repairer rather than at my preferred franchised dealer, and the ‘accident management company’ has twice tried to pick the bike up from the franchised dealer. Are they right on both scores.
Your policy does not specify that the bike has to be repaired at the insurer’s pet repairer. I know that repairer and I wouldn’t send my mum’s push bike to them, let alone my motorbike.
The relevant clause says, “repairs must be approved in writing by us before they can commence,” and if they do not approve reasonable repairs then they are in breach of contract. The jet wash man’s insurance company is right, but your legal advisors have got it wrong.
I can see what happened. You put the number plate of his green lane bike on to your forms, your claims monkeys wrote to his road traffic insurers and the road traffic insurers have told the claims monkeys to poke off. Your proper course of action is against the guy who jet washed his bike and the most likely insurer will be his household insurers.
However, there is no central database of home insurers, but if your solicitors had a clue they could find out for about three pounds who owns the address. If the person who was jet washing his bike is not a tenant then he will almost certainly have household insurance which would cover for precisely this type of loss, if he does not have household insurance, then you are left to go after the not very bright jet washer personally.
I would think about it very carefully before you start getting involved in suing an individual who may not be able to meet the judgment over using your fully comprehensive policy. That might seem unfair but not every problem has a legal solution.
Fast Bikes May 2015