I was riding my fairly old FireBlade along a straight stretch of rural Suffolk on a 60mph A-road. I saw an Isuzu pick-up and trailer waiting to turn out of a farm to my left. I rolled off the throttle, just in case.
It was indicating right and I presumed he had seen me, but when I was about 50 metres away the truck pulled out. I managed to brake and left a small skidmark of about eight or ten metres away from the collision point, but there was no way I could stop. I had recently overtaken a car, and the driver of that car said to the police afterwards that I had overtaken him, fair enough, and that he was travelling at 50 mph, estimating my overtaking speed as, ‘about 70mph, but not dangerous’.
I hit the Isuzu and wrote the bike off. Luckily, good body armour, good leathers and good luck meant I was not seriously injured. Nothing was broken apart from my bike and I had three weeks off work – I am a scaffolder by trade, and I was sore for about six months in total.
My insurance company appointed solicitors – well, people who pretend to be solicitors – are now trying to get me to accept that I am equally to blame for my accident as I was ‘clearly speeding’. That means that I will be caned for the next five years with increased insurance premiums and this accident was not my fault.
My first bike renewal has gone up over £800 after this ‘fault’ accident and my van premium has gone up £300. My solicitors have basically told me to ‘take it or leave it’, and they are not willing to go to court. No other solicitor is willing to take my case on without taking 25 per cent of my award, so I am stuffed whatever I do. What should I do?
You get what you pay for. Your claims monkeys are amongst the worst of all the claims monkeys. They get a minimal fixed fee for doing minimal work and the other driver’s insurers know this, so they will make a crap offer in the certain knowledge that your claims monkeys will try to force you to take it. They do not know how to go to court or analyse accident circumstances. They also do not want to incur the court fee for taking your case to court – but I think there is something more sinister going on here.
Worryingly, your claims monkeys are owned by your own insurers. In whose benefit is it for you to lose your no claims bonus? You are In your twenties with a third party only insured ‘Blade. If your insurers pay out a small sum for the damage to the Isuzu you pay increased insurance premiums for the next five years. An average increase of £500 a year will cost you £2,500 that goes straight into the insurers’ pockets who are the very people who own the solicitors who are telling you to shaft yourself. You have made the mistake of thinking your claims clowns are on your side. They are not.
The earlier overtake is irrelevant and is actually helpful here. It is an estimate of speed that, with a margin for error, puts you at or about the speed limit The skid mark shows that you responded with enough speed to leave strong evidence of braking – your skid mark – and 30 seconds on Google Earth shows it to be a dead straight stretch of road where you must have been in view had the driver looked. He has to prove speed as he is alleging it – and if he could see you speeding why did he pull out on you? If this case goes to trial you will win it flat out, but any solicitor you use needs to be paid for his work. You don’t put up scaffolding for free. Funnily enough, lawyers need to be paid.
So bite down, get a proper solicitor, accept the 25 per cent fee or accept that you will get what you pay for with a free claims monkey and pay your increased premium for the next five years. It is your choice as a consumer but any semi competent solicitor would win your case.
You have paid for ‘legal cover” but it is a pity it is not stronger and softer because it should be printed on Andrex…
Fast Bikes Magazine