He’s got an old FZR1000 and does all the maintenance himself. He is always out there tinkering. He lent me his wife’s kit and off we toddled for the afternoon to the coast. It was a genuinely lovely trip out with the obligatory stop for a cuppa, sausage roll and to ogle some other bikes parked up. I properly loved it.

We were literally heading home into the sunset when suddenly it felt like he just slammed on the brakes and locked up. And that was the end of an amazing afternoon as we fell off on a perfectly straight road. Some lovely people behind stopped to get us and the bike off the road and then the recovery truck turned up.

It took a while to move the bike as what had basically happened was one of the front brake calipers had fallen off and jammed in the front wheel. I could see there were no bolts holding it on. My neighbour couldn’t believe his eyes and said it must have been faulty bolts, or someone had vandalised his bike.

Fast forward a month and I’m about to start physiotherapy for my broken wrist. I hadn’t thought much about a claim, but I have just had a call from some solicitor instructed by my neighbour via his insurer. The solicitor also wanted to take my case on. However, I don’t really get what they are trying to do, and something doesn’t feel quite right. Can they represent me and my neighbour? Apparently, he is trying to bring a claim for his broken leg but I don’t see how.


You’re spot on to think ‘something doesn’t feel quite right’. It sounds like you may have had a call from someone who forgot the basics from law school and hasn’t engaged their brain.

Whilst a solicitor can act for both a rider and a pillion, they have to be very alert to a ‘conflict of interest’ arising. A conflict of interest means a situation where the separate duties of the solicitor to act in the best interests of two or more clients in the same or a related matter, conflict. So in your case, it is fair to say you are an innocent pillion and you will get 100% of your claim, if you pursue one.

The next question is who is liable to pay. Whilst your neighbour has his theories on the missing bolts, unless he has some evidence, that is all it is, theories. At this point, I have ‘Occam’s razor’ buzzing in my head.

To paraphrase the English Franciscan friar, William of Ockham, ‘the simplest explanation is usually the best one’. If his theories evaporate, then the only person you can pursue for the missing bolts from the bike he maintained causing the accident and your injuries is… yep, you guessed it… your neighbour. And that puts your interests in direct conflict with your neighbour and no solicitor in his right mind should be trying to represent you both in a case like this. My advice is get a different solicitor who knows his arse from his elbow.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes July 2021