I was out enjoying my Fireblade on a spirited ride with some friends in Wales. We had booked a place to stay for the night and were on the return leg to London.
The trip had become a bit of a standing joke between us all, as we’d had to avoid a sheep, a cow, and a deer during the two-day ride. All was going well until I hit a dog that ran out in front of me. I stacked the bike and broke my collar bone in the process.
My friends were luckier than me – they missed the dog when it first ran out into the road, it must have got spooked by the bikes and ran back into my path. I feel terrible as I am a dog owner and dog lover myself. It was only a pup and thankfully it died quickly. I couldn’t bear the dog suffering.
My bike is likely a write-off: pretty much every part is damaged as it flipped down the road. My kit is ruined, and I had to spend the night in hospital. I eventually made it back to London on the train.
I will have a few months off work as I have metalwork in my clavicle. The police turned up and did a good report I have the dog owner’s details, and the dog was insured. My motorcycle insurance company told me I need specialist advice as I didn’t hit another car, so they don’t know what to do next…
Your claim is very straightforward. Having read the police report the owner appears to have let the dog roam without any safeguards in place. It will be easy to show negligence on the part of the dog owner, and thankfully the dog was insured.
The insurer will have to meet the value of your claim. This is much easier than dealing with an uninsured pet, as then you would have to look to the assets of the pet’s owner to work out if they could pay you the compensation. Binning a 2018 Fireblade, ruining your kit, and having some time off work is likely to be the thick end of £20,000-£30,000, so you see that it’s better to sue an insurer who has such funds, as opposed to a private individual who may not.
Medical evidence will be important in your claim, as you need to know about the risks of having the metalwork out, which will increase the value of the claim.
It does sound as if your trip was ‘wild’, given the number of near-misses with animals. Had any of your group hit a sheep or cow, it is likely the legal position would be the same. Such animals are usually owned and would likely be subject to a public liability policy of insurance.
I am thinking along the lines of a farm owner who keeps livestock. If you cannot trace the owner of said animal, you can record the ear tag and use this ID to search the Livestock information Service, a database that holds information on said animal and their legal owner. It is important to record the ear tag at the scene – don’t wait. It will be lost if the animal is removed from the scene. If you have had a really quite terrible accident and there isn’t much left of the ear, then you should be recording as much information about the animal as possible. Photographs will help.
The truth is, if you are dealing with this severity of damage, you won’t be able to gather this evidence – It will be up to the police or your biker friends to record it.
Hitting a deer or pheasant is more problematic, unless the animal is privately owned, then it is unlikely you will be able to bring a successful civil claim. I am aware of a pheasant farm near to me which breeds the bird for game shooting. However, every year lots of them escape onto the road! The truth is, avoiding any sort of collision is preferred, but these types of accidents do happen. Gather as much evidence as you can and give it to a solicitor to sort out. Your insurance company isn’t best placed to do this as their skill set is insuring bikes, and not running complicated cases!
Fast Bikes July 2022