I had a lovely BMW S 1000RR which I sold last year in between lockdowns. The bloke turned up, test rode it and fell in love straight away. I knew he was going to buy it and we agreed a price £100 off my asking price.

He paid me cash for the bike there and then and rode it away. I got him to sign a receipt and I updated the DVLA new keeper system online, I only had a few weeks left to run with my insurer on the BMW and so let the policy run on the bike. I didn’t think it would be a problem and I wanted to get another year’s no claims bonus for my new bike, a Ducati.

I purchased the Ducati a month later and thought nothing more about it until I received a letter from a law firm telling they are going to sue me for £8000. Apparently, the bloke who purchased my BMW crashed it a week later, I don’t know if this is true but they say he hit two parked cars and then went through a farmer’s fence. They are claiming damage to the cars was £5000 and the fence repair cost a further £3000.

I remember thinking it wasn’t my problem so ignored it. My insurance company has paid out that money and now they want to claw it back from me. I didn’t crash so why is this my problem? I thought it was a try on, so I haven’t bothered responding, but my wife is really stressed by this, and I need some advice.


I am afraid you aren’t going to like what I have to say. I know the law firm who are writing to you. They don’t mess around and in your case, they have not messed around and cracked the case through to judgment.

As a lawyer, I can tell you they have done a spot-on procedural job of tucking both you and your insurers up like a kipper. They sent you a copy of the police report. Apparently, the BMW rider came in too hot lost control and slid his bike down the road. It trounced off two parked cars before catapulting itself through a wooden fence into a field. The BMW rider didn’t bother to insure the bike. Police ANPR cameras didn’t pick it up as uninsured because your policy still showed it as insured. If the rider had been stopped by the police they would have quickly worked out he wasn’t insured and seized it under S.165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

You might have faced a criminal charge of allowing the motorcycle to be used without insurance. That hasn’t happened, rather he has managed to crash, cause a lot of damage and now this has very much become your problem albeit in a civil claim, not a criminal one.

The applicable piece of law is S.151 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The people who suffered the damaged cars and fence have sued the rider of the BMW and got a judgment against him aided by a very focused solicitor who has used a few tricks of the trade to get an early and enforceable judgment.

Your insurer had no choice but to pay out and they are well within their rights to seek that money back from you. I think it will be accepted that you caused or permitted the use of that BMW with a live policy still in force. This isn’t going to go away.

I don’t see any particular defence you can mount to the current claim from your own insurers and so they will win before a Judge,iIf you let it get that far. My advice would be to settle it as soon as possible albeit you aren’t under any other cost risk. Thankfully, the claim is less than £10,000. If it was for more than £10,000 the law firm could seek their professional legal costs in addition.

You should have cancelled the policy or transferred it over to your new bike. If the insurer allowed. That would have been a damn sight cheaper than letting it run and trying to secure another year’s no claims bonus, in legal terms, you are buggered. Sorry.

Gavin Grewal

Fast Bikes September 2021