By Senior Personal Injury Solicitor Jason Harries
Our Personal Injury Solicitors were contacted by the family of a biker who had been killed in a road traffic accident.
The biker was a keen and very capable rider, who was a motor mechanic and used to occasionally race motorbikes. The motorbike accident occurred as he was riding through a rural village, when a courier in a van pulled across the biker's path on the brow of a hill to make a delivery.
The motorcyclist was seriously injured in the collision. He was airlifted from the scene by air ambulance, but tragically doctors were unable to save his life.
The biker was survived by an estranged wife, his elderly mother and also his disabled brother, who relied on him for care.
Liability for the accident was disputed by the courier, who sought to suggest that the motorcyclist was travelling too quickly. This is a common allegation against bikers. In this case there was some support for this claim as witnesses had seen the motorcyclist overtaking vehicles earlier further down the road. The courier was prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving but was later acquitted by the Crown Court.
How We Helped
One of our Personal Injury Solicitors met with the family of the biker and attended the scene of the accident. We took statements from witnesses and attended at the Crown Court Trial to gauge the strength of the evidence presented against the Courier and to assess the witnesses who suggested that the biker may have been travelling in excess of the speed limit.
Despite the Courier's acquittal, we were convinced that the biker had not been at fault for the accident, and that the witnesses relied upon by the Courier and his insurers had not actually seen the accident happen.
We instructed an accident reconstruction expert to assess the physical evidence as well as the Police collision investigator's report. The reconstruction expert came to the conclusion that the motorcyclist had not been travelling above the speed limit, and that the allegations of the Courier were not credible. Despite this the Courier and his insurers continued to deny responsibility.
We pursued the motorbike accident claim both in respect of compensation for the estranged wife, and also for his mother and brother. The anticipated care and assistance that would need to be provided to his elderly mother and to his disabled brother in his absence was significant.
The largest award was pursued for the motorcyclist's disabled brother, who had lost the care he was likely to have received from his brother as they got older. The level of care required was expected to be substantial, given the brother's care needs.
A very experienced Barrister was engaged to advise the family. Court proceedings began against the Courier and his insurers, but they continued to dispute any liability for the road accident and we were unable to reach an agreement on the value of the case.
The case was pursued through the Court process, with exchange of expert evidence, statements and disclosure provided. Just one month before the date of the Trial, our Personal Injury Solicitors attended a settlement meeting along with the biker's family and a settlement was finally agreed.
A settlement of approximately £170,000 compensation was achieved for the family, with the majority set aside into a Trust account for the motorcyclist's brother. This settlement was approved by the Court.