Solicitors Guide to Understanding Motorcycle Accident Claims

Posted on: 17 mins read
Amy Baker

Graduate Solicitor Apprentice

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There are currently around 1.34 million motorcycles and almost 32.17 million cars that are registered in the UK  Unfortunately, motorcyclists continue to be the most vulnerable road users in the whole of the United Kingdom, with motorbikes consistently being the most dangerous method on the road year-on-year. Riders are 28 times more likely to lose their lives in a fatal crash, compared to other motorists. In fact, in 2020, 82,528 motorbike riders suffered injuries on the road, meaning that road safety concerns are more pertinent than ever. For many people having a motorcycle means freedom, a form of transport or a hobby, as well as a way to meet other people and make friends. Add to that the feeling of the power of the engine under you, the responsiveness of the controls, and the sheer sensation of speed, riding can be exhilarating in a way unlike any other form of travel.

Part of the excitement of biking also comes from the risk factor. You have to be completely focused on what’s going on around you, and see, hear and smell everything if you want to get to where you’re going safely. So, though there are many great moments while riding, there are certainly some negatives, too. 

From 2015-2020, nearly 92 percent of bikers who were killed or seriously injured in a road traffic accident were men. Whilst young male riders under 25 are more prone to suffer an accident resulting in injury, men aged between 25 and 59 are more likely to be involved in an accident which was either fatal or resulted in the victim suffering life-altering injuries.

Despite these statistics, it’s important to remember that all motorcyclists are vulnerable to an extent. It is of course essential to be confident whenever you’re out on the road on your motorbike, but it’s also important to be aware of the risks involved with this type of transport, and to take steps to try and stay safe.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, our experienced and specialist Motorcycle Accident Solicitors could help you make a claim for compensation.

We work hard to secure the best outcome for bikers who have been injured through no fault of their own.

What Are Motorbike Accident Claims?

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, Simpson Millar’s team of expert Motorbike Accident Solicitors can help you make a compensation claim, whether you were driving or riding pillion.

Our friendly and professional team of Solicitors are the experts in motorcycle accident claims, as this is a very complex and particular area of the law. In fact, many members of our team are actually bikers themselves – meaning that we get the issues that bikers face every day when they’re on the UK’s roads.

Our team will always work incredibly hard to get the best outcomes for our clients who are injured bikers. We want to get them access to physiotherapy, medical treatment that’s specialised to their injuries and complaints, and adaptations to their motorbikes as needed, to keep them riding even after a serious or life-changing injury.

If your family member or loved one unfortunately passed during or as the result of a motorbike accident, we can help you through the inquest process, attending Court on your behalf if needed. We’re here to be in your corner, so you can get justice for your loved one.

THINK!’s government initiative has helped to create a level of empathy between car drivers and motorcyclists through various adverts over the years. We’ve subsequently seen a reduction in road traffic accidents involving motorbikes, but it is still far too high.

Whilst we welcome the progress that has been made, we also recognise that motorcyclists continue to face significant dangers on UK roads, such as:

  • oil spills – these are especially dangerous on bends;
  • not being seen by car drivers;
  • uneven road surfaces.

Bikers are especially vulnerable, because they’re not protected like car drivers are. In fact, it’s been proven that bikers are 62 times more likely to be killed during a road collision than someone who is driving a car.

What are the most common Motorcycle Accidents?

Our professional and knowledgeable team of Motorbike Accident Solicitors have experience in helping bikers who have been in some pretty scary accidents – and we’re here to help and listen when that happens.  So, we wanted to highlight some of the most common reasons for serious injuries among bikers, and what you can do to protect yourself.

1)      A car pulling out from a slow or stationary line of traffic:

This is a high-risk scenario for motorcyclists that leads to many serious injuries. So, if you’re tempted to overtake a line of still or slow-moving vehicles, here are a few things you should do first:

  • Slow down - it’s the easiest defence for a driver to say you were travelling too fast
  • Keep your hands on the brake
  • Be ready to take evasive action

You should also think about:

  • Whether the driver can see you
  • If the other person is looking at you
  • Are they signalling?
  • What direction are their wheels turned towards?
  • Are there gaps in the traffic?

If there are gaps in the traffic, think about why that may be. Are there side roads to the left? Is it because someone is being let out? 

Bear in mind, you may be in for some criticism if you’ve been travelling too fast and not paying attention to what’s happening with the side roads, which could affect any motorcycle accident compensation claim you make.

2)      Vehicle attempts a U-turn into the path of a biker:

This type of accident usually happens because the driver wasn’t paying full attention to their surroundings. As a biker, the best thing you can do is try to brake hard. Even if you can’t completely stop, if possible, just trying to slow down can help – but we understand this is extremely difficult.

However, if you can slow down just slightly, there’s a chance you could ensure your injuries aren’t as severe as they would have been in a full-on collision, or if you had had to jump from your motorcycle.

3)      Vehicle pulls out from a side road into a biker’s path:

You almost need a sixth sense to try to prevent this type of accident. You should pay extra attention to any vehicle waiting to come out of a junction, and look at the driver inside the vehicle.

Have they noticed you? Even if you think they have, they may not, so slow right down. Always expect the worst and act accordingly.

4)      Vehicle rear-ends biker:

It’s a simple, common accident, but it can kill a biker. Try to use other vehicles as a buffer, so if you’re coming to a stop at traffic lights for example, pull up alongside that vehicle or in front of it.

If you can’t do that, it’s a  good idea to stop at the side of the lane instead of the centre. This is because doing so will prevent you from being pinned between cars – and instead, you’ll be buffeted, hopefully into an open space.

5)      Roundabout accidents:

Roundabouts can be very dangerous for bikers. Either a vehicle changes lane and doesn’t see the motorcyclist or the vehicle may go around the roundabout in the wrong lane and try to exit, without noticing the motorcyclist in their way. And of course, the motorcyclist may be in the wrong lane (no-one is perfect). 

We see all kinds of roundabout accidents, all involving different kinds of vehicles. In fact, not a lot of road users understand how to use a roundabout correctly. It’s important to remember this, because then you’ll be able to approach a roundabout with an appropriate level of caution.  

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How do you make a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

If you get in touch with our team of specialist Solicitors at Simpson Millar, you can get an initial assessment of your accident, for free. After discussing all the details with you, we’ll give you straightforward legal advice and we can support you through the whole claims process.

We understand the long-lasting impact that being in a motorcycle accident can have on your life.

We can help you with:

  • Getting your bike and equipment inspected
  • Repairs to your bike
  • Adaptations to your bike if your injuries mean you can’t ride a standard bike anymore
  • Arranging a replacement motorcycle
  • Support with your physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatments
  • Modifications to your home
  • Urgent rehabilitation
  • Interim Payments – these can only be applied for once partial or full liability has been admitted by the other side

Our specialist team of Road Accident Solicitors are here to help you through your claim.

Will a helmet camera make a difference to my motorbike accident claim?

Helmet cams can record what happened if you get involved in a collision when you’re on your bike on the road. The video it takes could help you prove the other party was responsible, thus supporting your claim for compensation.

As with other types of accidents, it could be easy for the other party involved in the collision to deny liability, and they could even suggest that it was your fault. But if you have real-time footage of what happened, you can prove beyond doubt what happened, how fast you were travelling, and the chain of events that led to you being injured.

Motorcyclists make up for just 1% of the country’s road users, but make up a disproportionately high number of road fatalities - 20% in fact.

That’s why it’s so important to do whatever you can to protect yourself.

If you’re injured through no fault of your own, it’s only right that you can get the care, support and rehabilitation you need, and that the responsible party pays for any damage to your motorcycle, so you can get back on the road as soon as possible.

 

A helmet cam could be an essential purchase that helps you get what you deserve should the worst happen to you, but with an additional camera it can be beneficial for everyone –

Helmet Cams Can Improve Behaviour of Road Users

Many people of course enjoy the thrill of riding fast, but it’s important to remember that everyone has to stick to the law, and wearing a helmet cam could actually help you remember that. This is because, if you unfortunately end up causing a collision, your helmet cam footage could prove that you were at fault – and no one wants to be put in that position.

Similarly, if a car or van driver sees that you’ve got a camera on your helmet, it’s likely they’ll be on their best behaviour too, avoiding risky manoeuvres and coming too close to you.

Therefore, by wearing a helmet, you could actually decrease your chances of getting involved in a bad collision – thus making the roads safer for everyone.

Cheaper Insurance

Many motorcycle insurance providers offer lower premiums to bikers who are willing to wear a helmet camera and record their rides.

Just as our Motorcycle Accident Solicitors need to gather evidence when we’re putting together a legal claim, an insurance provider needs to know what happened and who was at fault when you’re claiming on your policy.

If you have helmet cam footage, this can help you answer these questions, meaning you could be a lower risk for insurance firms, so they’re more likely to give you cheaper insurance.

Become a Better Rider

Having helmet cam footage means you can look back on your rides. In fact, a lot of riders do this to figure out how they can improve while riding. Perhaps your spatial awareness could be better, or you could take corners more safely.

If you figure out where you could potentially improve, you could be able to change your behaviour, leading to you becoming a safer rider overall. This means, when you get back on your bike and on the road, you could lower your chances of being involved in a collision.

If you have any questions about compensation after being injured on a motorcycle, get in touch with our expert Motorcycle Accident Solicitors.

How much will a motorbike injury claim cost?

We can offer No Win, No Fee funding for most motorcycle accident claims. This means you don’t pay anything if your claim isn’t successful. We’ll explain all of your options in detail, just reach out to our Motorbike Accident Lawyers.

Are there any time limits with a motorbike injury claim?

Usually, you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim. But there are exceptions. They are:

  • If you were under the age 18 when the accident happened - you have 3 years from the date you turn 18 to make a claim
  • If you lost mental capacity in the accident – the time limit is paused until you get capacity back or a litigation friend can make a claim on your behalf
  • If the accident happened abroad – you may have less time so it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible

What is the average Motorcycle accident compensation?

How much compensation you’re able to claim for a motorbike accident all depends on a wide range of factors, including your financial losses and the severity of your injuries, for example.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can lead to victims suffering life-altering injuries, which is why it’s essential that you get access to the help and rehab you need as soon as possible.

Whilst the circumstances of every motorcycle accident are different, there are certain common things that you can claim compensation for as long as the accident wasn’t your fault. The compensation you get is usually split up into two categories. These are General Damages and Special Damages.

General Damages usually covers things like:

  • Your injuries
  • Any pain and suffering as a result of the accident
  • Any mental trauma relating to the accident
  • Any reduced quality of life since the accident. This could include reduced mobility or pain which impacts on your day-to-day life

Special Damages will aim to compensate you for any financial losses you’ve suffered, including:

  • The cost of the repairs to your bike
  • Any costs to replace your helmet, leathers, boots, gloves or any personal property damaged during the accident
  • Prescription fees for any medication
  • Medical treatment costs such as surgery and physiotherapy
  • Transport costs to/from medical appointments. These can include private cars, buses, trains or taxis
  • Any lost income from your job because of your accident
  • Any reduction in pay because you can’t go back to your old job as a result of your injuries

Special Damages are easier to put a value on because we can show how much all of these item’s cost. General Damages are not so straightforward.

The compensation for your injuries is determined by the  Judicial College guidelines and they are set over broad ranges based on the injury type. An example is as follows:

Body Part

Level of Injury

Compensation Amount

Description

Head Injury

Severe

£247,280 - £354,260

Badly disabled, brain damage with little or no response.

Eye Injury

Severe

£56,070 - £354,260

Injury resulting in complete blindness or reduced vision.

Facial Injury

Severe

£26,120 - £85,340

Facial Disfigurement

 

The Process for Making a Motorbike Accident Claim

When you get in touch with our team, we will look at your claim and do a free initial assessment. This involves learning the details about what happened to you – and once we’ve done this, we can let you know  whether or not you could make a claim for compensation.

If our team and yourself decide to progress with a compensation claim, we will adhere to the following process:

1.      Figuring out who is responsible for what happened to you:

This is an important step when you’re claiming compensation in any type of situation. This might however be complicatedwith motorcycle accidents. We will compile evidence for you – this could include medical records, witness statements, police accident reports, and photos of the accident scene. In addition, if you’ve got footage from your helmet camera, this might also prove useful, because it will make good evidence. Also, we’ll look into any CCTV footage from the area where your accident took place.

2.      Requesting an interim payment on your behalf

Once we’ve completed the above step, we’ll liase with the insurance company that covers the other party to see if they admit fault for the accident – we’ll try and do this as soon as possible in the claims process. This way, if they accept liability, even if it’s just partial, we can request interim payments on your behalf, if you need urgent care, or medical or support.

3.      Getting a specialist medical report

When we’ve sorted interim payments – if this is applicable to your case – we will get you examined by a medical professional who’s independent from us and from you. They will put together a report to provide their opinion on your injuries, how much they could affect your life, and the treatment, care and rehabilitation you could need because of them. If you’ve sustained multiple injuries,  you may need multiple different reports from separate medical experts– and we’ll sort all of this out for you.

4.      Calculating how much you could claim for

When we’ve investigated  the circumstances of your accident, as well as the mental, physical and financial consequences of it, we’ll be able to work out the amount of compensation you’re entitled to. If we get any offers to settle, we’ll always let you know if we think you should accept. However, at the end of the day, the decision is yours.

5.      Settling the claim or going to Court

Generally, the majority of personal injury claims, including motorbike claims, don’t go to Court. If yours does, though, we’ll be in your corner at all times.

How We Can Help at Simpson Millar

It’s essential to be safe on the road when you’re riding your motorbike. Of course, you can’t control how other people drive or what they do when they’re on the roads, but you can still do various things to stay as safe as possible.

At Simpson Millar, our team is involved with the biker community, with members of our team who ride motorcycles and identify as bikers. In addition, we also support the Superbike team, CDH Racing. We are the specialists when it comes to motorcycle accidents. 

Also, we know that suffering a serious injury can have a massive impact on your life – that’s why we decided to open our Major Trauma Unit to help people deal with life-changing injuries. 

Get in touch on 0808 239 6443 today to get started with your compensation claim journey.

FAQs

As a Biker, Can I Claim Compensation for Diesel in the Road?

If you were riding a motorcycle and lost control on the road because of a diesel spill, and you were injured as a result, you could claim compensation.

Many bikers in the UK believe that you can’t make a motorbike accident claim because of a diesel spill on a road or motorway which caused injury. But this is not the case, as you may have been doing nothing wrong at the time of the accident, in which case you’ve been injured through no fault of your own.

If you’re unable to figure out who owned the car or vehicle that caused the spillage of diesel, you might still be able to make a claim for compensation through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) instead. Our Motorbike Accident Solicitors have years of experience of handling MIB claims and can talk you through the claims process.

Can I make a claim on someone else’s behalf?

You absolutely can. Unfortunately, motorbike accidents can lead to the victim suffering significant injuries, and it can sometimes even result in death. If someone in your family or a loved one has passed away because of their injuries, or if they’ve sustained a brain injury in a motorbike accident, you could make a claim on their behalf.

Could I be eligible to get interim payments?

You might be. If there are things you need to pay for right now, which are as a result of the motorbike accident, we could apply on your behalf to get an interim payment. This way, you don’t have to wait a long time for the case to settle, before you can get specialist care, or financial support, or treatment to help you live your life.

References:

Statista. (2022). Motorcycle and car registrations in the United Kingdom. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/312594/motorcycle-and-car-registrations-in-the-united-kingdom/

Forbes Advisor. (n.d.). Motorcycle Accident Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/motorcycle-accident-statistics/

Begin Motorcycling. (n.d.). UK Motorcycle Accident Statistics. Retrieved from https://begin-motorcycling.co.uk/uk-motorcycle-accident-statistics/

Review42. (n.d.). Intriguing Motorcycle Accidents Statistics. Retrieved from https://review42.com/uk/resources/motorcycle-accidents-statistics/

Simpson Millar LLP. (n.d.). Rehabilitation for Brain-Injured Bikers after a Motorcycle Accident. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/media/road-traffic-accidents/rehabilitation-for-brain-injured-bikers-after-a-motorcycle-accident/

Cycling Weekly. (n.d.). 10 best bike helmet cameras. Retrieved from https://www.cyclingweekly.com/group-tests/bike-helmet-cameras-327336

Judicial College. (n.d.). About the Judicial College. Retrieved from https://www.judiciary.uk/about-the-judiciary/training-support/judicial-college/

British Superbike Championship. (n.d.). Teams. Retrieved from https://www.britishsuperbike.com/teams/

Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mib.org.uk/

Amy Baker

Graduate Solicitor Apprentice

Amy is a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice within our Personal injury department, based in our Manchester office.

She helps clients who have sustained injuries resulting from accidents at work and accidents in public places to recover compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

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