The driver of the car immediately ‘fessed up and even sent me a text saying how sorry he was, hoping I was okay and confirming he had told his insurers he was to blame, whilst giving me his insurance details.
Obviously, I’d rather he had not hit me but once he had, he was a gentleman. I had a few days stiffness in my lower back but no worse than I get from overdoing things in the gym.
I reported the claim in and was immediately persuaded that I needed to get a hire bike to replace my Kawasaki Z1000. I was not that keen; I ride for fun at weekends only. I was about to go on a family holiday and I have a company car that I use for everyday transport.
I got what I now know is a sales pitch telling me that claiming for a hire bike would greatly accelerate my Zed thou’ being repaired. I was reassured I would never have to pay a penny and the other guy’s insurers would be picking up the tab. Like a mug. I believed them.
Now I have a problem. It turns out the hire charges for my bike are north of £6000 and I rode it three times. I got a VFR which was quite new and shiny but not worth two grand a ride.
I am now being asked to sign various documents stating I had no alternative form of transport and that I am ‘impecunious’ which is apparently, legal-speak for skint. I earn well, so does my wife. I am distinctly uncomfortable about signing these documents as they are not true.
I spoke to a lawyer at the firm. It turns out they were qualified but not as a solicitor and they literally screamed down the phone at me, telling me either I signed the statement or I have to pay the hire charges myself. I have now looked at the contract and whilst I am no lawyer. It does seem that I am liable for the costs, which I was clearly told I would never have to pay.
It turns out the solicitors and the hire company both have the same ‘parent’ company. I have done some digging. I am sure a solicitor has to be independent. How can a solicitor advise me to pay their employer or lie? I am in a job which requires absolute honesty. If I were to lie, let alone in court, my career would be over. Can I get out of this mess?
Sadly, you are in an absolute bind. Looking at the papers, your case is not yet in court but the Defendant insurer has asked for you to provide evidence of your being skint – a lot of personal materials relating to your joint account which show you and your wife between you have a joint income before tax of nearly £90,000 a year.
The statement put together, allegedly on your behalf, tries to set out ‘impecuniosity’ on the basis that, whilst you earn well, you have very little spare money. Your bank statements show a healthy and consistent credit balance which undermines that narrative. Your bank statements also show that you moved £20k into an ISA in the 2019/20 tax year.
The best answer I can see, which does not involve you lying (and lying to the court is a monumentally bad idea) is to tell your solicitors – and sadly they are solicitors – that you willingly give them the information the defendants want. The insurers solicitors, who are a robust bunch, may well offer a much lower hire rate which your solicitors may well accept.
You don’t really have any say. You are on the hook for six grand for a bike you did not want or need. I hope this ends with the solicitors and credit hire company (who are in reality the same company) accepting a much lower rental rate or even nothing at all for the hire and you moving on with your life, without the hire company coming after you.
You are now dependent upon the greed of the hire company and their solicitors, even though you rather naively thought of them as your solicitors. The people who hired you the bike, who made the false promises and now want you to put a false narrative to the court, also own the law firm.
RiDE Magazine – November 2021