I booked a trackday with a well-known provider at a famous track. I was out on my Fireblade when a rider ploughed into the back of me. The bike was smashed to bits and I bust my arm.
I reckon my Blade will need £10,000 thrown at it to get it back to its former glory. My arm is in a sling and the doctors have told me just to rest, I don’t need an operation and should be back to work in three weeks. My leathers are ruined.
The other rider said I braked in a silly place and thinks I am to blame. He doesn’t have trackday insurance and has basically told me to f-off.
I have tried to claim via the trackday provider but they told me I cannot as I signed a disclaimer. What can I do?
You can claim and I think you will win, against the rider but not the trackday provider. The trackday provider doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong. It provided a safety briefing did a sighting lap with all the riders, and ensured that all riders signed the disclaimer. I don’t actually think the disclaimer is really relevant, as they cannot disclaim liability for harm caused by their negligence. I don’t think there is any negligence on their part.
The rider is a different kettle of fish. There is always a level of risk associated with trackdays. A judge will understand this and there is a duty of care owed to other riders on your trackday.
You all agreed to ride fast, enjoy the trackday, and accept there was a level of risk in falling off. What you didn’t agree to was to be hit up the chuff by another rider riding like a lunatic. Therein lies your potential claim.
If you can persuade the court that the other rider has breached his duty of care, then you will likely be successful in suing the rider for your damaged bike, kit, and injuries. If not, you will lose, but you have the benefit of something called QOCS. I am not making this up!
It stands for Qualified One-way Costs Shifting and the general idea is that you can sue someone even if you lose, and you don’t have to pay their legal costs incurred in defending the action. Yes, this is a real thing but it only applies to claims which include personal injury. If the other rider doesn’t have trackday insurance then there is no insurer to claim from. This means you will be seeking your compensation from the rider himself, so unless he has a house, a good job, or assets to sell, you might win at court but never see any money.
This is a good lesson for all of us trackday enthusiasts. Insure yourself or ride well within your limits. If you don’t, you are potentially gambling your assets/house. I say potentially, as not every incident on a track is going to open up a claim against another rider.
Accidents can and do happen on track; yours is so clear-cut that I take the view you will win in a claim in negligence, but other types of incidents are unlikely to. Don’t think the floodgates have opened for claims in every case. They really haven’t.
Fast Bikes September 2022