Motorcyclists Are More Likely To Be Killed Or Injured Than Any Other Road User
Motorcyclists are still 60 times more likely than car drivers to be killed or seriously injured in a crash – despite significant safety improvements over the years.
It is a sad fact that more motorcyclists die on the roads than all the cycling, pedestrian and car crash fatalities put together, Department for Transport data shows.
By far the biggest cause of motorcycle accidents is a lack of awareness among car drivers and other road users, who simply don’t see the approaching motorcyclist. Every biker who has ever experienced a SMIDSY (“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”) knows this all too well.
Have you been injured in a motorbike accident? Get justice and claim compensation – No Win No Fee – so there is no financial risk to you.
Motorcycle Injury Claims Solicitors
Coles Miller’s specialist solicitors have years of experience in dealing with fatal and serious injury compensation claims. Our personal injury department is led by Adrian Cormack, an APIL Accredited Brain Injury Specialist solicitor.
As serious injury solicitors, we are often approached by other law firms that have limited or no experience of this specialised area of the law. They refer cases to us so we can help to secure the best possible compensation payouts for their clients.
Serious Injuries Suffered By Motorcyclists
All too often, motorcycle accidents end in fatal or life-changing brain or spinal injuries. Even the best helmets and leathers cannot save a rider from the consequences of an impact with a car, van or truck travelling at speed.
Injuries to riders include:
- Head and brain injuries – skull fractures, bleeding on the brain.
- Spinal injuries – potentially leading to varying degrees of pain and paralysis (depending on which vertebrae were broken). Other complications can include breathing problems, loss of bladder and /or bowel control, chronic pain, blood circulation problems, muscle weakness and sexual dysfunction.
- Leg amputations – especially when the rider is hit by a car from the side and their leg is crushed between bike and car.
- Arm amputations.
- Broken bones – usually wrists (scaphoid fractures – which can be serious if not treated correctly), arms, legs and feet.
- Road rash – failure to treat it correctly can lead to permanent nerve damage, disability, disfigurement, skin irritations and infections, depression, anxiety, stress, pain and discomfort.
- Soft-tissue damage – torn tendons and ligaments. Even so-called ‘minor injuries’ may cause permanent weakness; the affected limb may never be the same again.
Six Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists are often the victims of drivers who are either speeding, distracted or who execute a manoeuvre without warning. Typical examples include:
- Car drivers executing right-hand turns at junctions without warning – one of the most dangerous situations for motorcyclists going straight ahead and trying to overtake the car.
- Car drivers pull out of sideroad junctions without checking the main road ahead properly; the motorcyclist smashes into the side of the car and can be thrown over the bonnet.
- Car drivers pull out from the kerb without checking their wing mirror properly, without doing an over-the-shoulder lifesaver check, without signalling – smashing the offside of their car into the motorcyclist trying to pass them.
- Drivers change lanes without checking and/or signalling on a motorway or dual carriageway. These accidents can leave the motorcyclist with severe injuries because the speeds involved are much higher than in built-up areas.
- Drivers open their car door without using the recommended Dutch Reach technique (using the opposite hand to operate the handle, so they instinctively turn and look over their shoulder) – the motorcyclist runs headlong into the sharp edge of the suddenly opened car door.
- Impatient or inattentive car drivers fail to understand recognise or respect a motorcycle carrying out the correct Observation/Signal/Manoeuvre/Position/Speed/Look (OSM/PSL) system and drive into the back of them.
Increasing Threat Of Road Accidents Caused By Potholes
Motorcyclists are not just at risk from other road users: Britain’s potholed roads are a serious injury accident hazard for riders.
Accidents due to potholes are three times more likely to involve motorcyclists or cyclists, warns the AA. British roads have deteriorated significantly in recent years so this worrying trend is growing.
Winter is the worst time of year. Our personal injury solicitors always see a significant rise in the number of road accident claims after the clocks go back because of:
- darker evenings
- poor weather
- reduced visibility.
Potholes are a menace all year round but more so in winter because they are harder to see. It is also more difficult to estimate their depth because they are likely to be full of rainwater.
In the autumn, potholes are often obscured by slippery fallen leaves (which is bad enough) but in winter they could be full of slush or ice – while the rest of the road may appear ‘safe’.
Coles Miller has successfully sued councils or their contractors for maintenance failures that led to injury accidents.
Claiming For A Damaged Motorcycle, Helmet And Leathers
If a motorcycle crash is severe enough to injure you then it will almost certainly result in significant damage to your bike, leathers and helmet. You can claim compensation for this.
Insurers frequently write off crash-damaged motorcycles. It doesn’t take much for your beloved bike to be written off. Bent forks, a cracked fairing and broken lights could easily mean the end of the road for your cherished motorcycle.
You will also have to buy a new helmet because your existing one was involved in a serious crash. And the leathers that saved you from road rash may be too damaged to protect you in future – so they will have to be replaced, along with your gloves, boots and back protector. None of this will be cheap.
To add insult to injury, the insurer will probably offer you a payout too low to cover the true cost of replacing your motorcycle and protective gear.
Never Accept An Insurer’s First Offer
First your insurer will deduct the significant excess that you had to accept to get cover in the first place.
Then they will hit you with a low ‘take it or leave it’ compensation offer. Either or both of those factors will leave you seriously out of pocket.
It pays to get expert legal advice before you accept any offer from the other side’s insurer (or from your own insurer).
What Should My Motorcycle Accident Claim Include?
There is no good reason why you should be the one that suffers when you were not at fault. Here are seven things your personal injury claim could also include:
- replacing/repairing your motorcycle
- hiring alternative transport while your bike is off the road
- new helmet, leathers, pads, gloves, boots, back protector and other clothing
- replacing anything else on your bike that was damaged in the crash – such as panniers, back box or anything they contained that was damaged
- loss of earnings (past and future) due to time off work
- loss of amenity – a reduction in your quality of life, you may no longer be able to carry on with your activities or hobbies (such as motorcycling)
- any other crash-related expenses – including travel to and from the hospital or GP surgery, hospital parking charges.
Claiming Compensation For Life-Changing Motorcycle Injuries
Personal injury compensation payouts are intended to bring your life back to ‘normal’ – as if your crash had never occurred.
But what if your injuries are so severe that your life will never be the same again? You may be forced to adapt to a new life – one that involves living on a daily basis with a disability or other life-changing injuries.
You may need extensive care and rehabilitation to help you recover as best you can from your injuries and adapt to reduced mobility or ability. Your home may need special adaptations. In the most serious injury cases, you may need round-the-clock care for the rest of your life.
It is in cases such as these – severe head, brain and spinal injury cases – that an experienced serious injury solicitor makes a huge difference.
That is because winning your case is just the beginning: your solicitor can help to coordinate all the medical, social care and home adaptation experts you will need over the coming years. We have worked with some clients for decades after their accidents – and continue to help them.
How Much Does It Cost To Claim For A Motorbike Accident?
No Win No Fee means that there are no upfront costs for you to pay. Our legal fees would be covered by a success fee (up to 25%) from the payout awarded by the court.
In the unlikely event that you do not win your case, there is nothing to pay. We cover the cost of your legal fees; the other side’s legal fees are covered by insurance.
Coles Miller handles all personal injury cases on a No Win No Fee basis – so there is no financial risk to you.
Will It Be Stressful? Will I Have To Go To Court?
Our experienced solicitors will take on your claim and take away the stress and worry. We’re in your corner – fighting for justice for you.
We handle all the legal work on your behalf and will keep you fully informed every step of the way. So you’re always in control – but we do all the hard work for you.
Most personal injury claims never go to court. They are almost always settled in advance. We like to secure an admission of liability from the other side as soon as we can. That can help if we need to secure interim compensation for you.
Interim compensation is an early initial payment to help pay for your treatment and care while the full extent of liability and damages are being determined. Personal injury claims can take months (and even years in very serious cases) so it is important to try and secure funds for you early on as your claim progresses.
How Much Could I Claim?
Use our quick and easy online calculator to see how much you could claim for your road accident.
How much is your claim worth?
This estimator tool will tell you how much you could claim.
Recent changes to the Highway Code in relation to Motorcyclists
The objective of Rule H1 is to increase the responsibility of drivers operating larger vehicles to exercise greater caution towards more vulnerable road users.
At the top of the hierarchy, pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. Cyclists come next, followed by motorcyclists and horse riders, and then car/van drivers. Large vehicles such as buses and HGVs form the bottom of the hierarchy.
In practical terms, this means that motorcyclists have a higher duty of care towards pedestrians and cyclists, while four-wheeled vehicles have an increased responsibility towards motorcyclists due to the greater risk they pose in the event of an accident.
Rule H2 states that at junctions, you should yield to pedestrians who are crossing or waiting to cross the road you are turning into or from. For instance, if you are turning into a road and a pedestrian is waiting to cross, you must give them the right of way.
Rule H3 is specifically directed at motorcyclists and drivers. It states that you must not turn at a junction if it would cause a cyclist or horse rider to stop or swerve. You should wait for a safe gap in traffic before making your turn.
In addition to the three main changes, the following amendments have also been included in the Highway Code:
When overtaking cyclists at speeds under 30mph, you must give them a minimum of 1.5 metres distance, and when passing a horse at a maximum of 10mph, you should maintain at least 2 metres of distance. If a pedestrian is walking on the road, it is recommended to maintain low speed and a 2-metre distance (Rule 212/215/163).
You should yield to cyclists in a cycle lane (Rule 140).
When traveling in slow-moving traffic, you must allow pedestrians or cyclists to cross in front of you (Rule 151).
You must give way to pedestrians or cyclists who have entered a zebra crossing or parallel crossing (Rule 195).
While changes to the Highway Code do not alter the legal regulations for road users, it is important to note that the Highway Code provides advisory guidelines. Infringements can be helpful in determining liability in the event of an accident.
Motorcycle Accident Case Law
Insurers trying to defend a claim where a motorcyclist was overtaking, filtering or passing a car will try to quote the case of Powell vs Moody (1966) in a bid to reduce the amount of compensation they will have to pay.
In the Powell vs Moody case, the motorcyclist was judged to have been 80% to blame – but our experienced personal injury solicitors are used to dealing with these tactics and can also quote case law such as:
- Harding vs Hinchcliffe (1964) – driver 100% to blame (they should have let a bus turn left first, giving a better view of the road and enabling them to see the motorcycle)
- Davis vs Schrogin (2006) – driver 100% to blame (they executed a U-turn in the middle of the road).
Every case is judged on its merits. But if the other side quotes case law to support its defence, we have the specialist in-depth legal knowledge to counter their arguments.
What If The Driver Is Not Insured Or Did Not Stop?
Even if you have suffered a personal injury in an accident where the driver of the vehicle was not insured – or did not stop to give their details – we may still be able to help you make a claim. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau is an organisation that compensates victims of uninsured/untraced drivers.
How Long Do I Have To Claim For My Motorcycle Injuries?
Under English law – in most cases – there is a three-year time limit from:
- the date of the accident that caused your injury
- the date you became aware of the injuries (if later).
These time limits do not apply to:
- children, who can proceed with a claim at any time before their 21st birthday
- people who are unable to manage their legal affairs because of reduced mental capacity.
Even if the three-year time limit has passed, it would still be worth you phoning or emailing us. We have handled a number of personal injury cases in which we have been able to argue for an exception to the time limit.
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Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident? Is your motorcycle or protective gear damaged?
Book a free chat with a Coles Miller personal injury lawyer to find out more about claiming compensation (No Win No Fee). Complete the short email form below to enquire…
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Partner, Head of Personal Injury Department
Personal Injury Executive
Serious Injury Paralegal
Serious Injury Paralegal