If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, and have suffered injury and losses as a result of this, you may be entitled to claim compensation. In some cases, especially if your injuries were serious enough for you to take time off work, a compensation claim could run into thousands. The following guide for claimants looks at the various aspects of motorcycle accident claims, from who can claim compensation and how much you could get, to how long this type of claim is likely to take to conclude.
What is a motorcycle accident claim?
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK, not least given the fact that other motorists often fail to spot them and, where an accident does happen, the injuries can be serious or even catastrophic. A motorcycle accident claim is where a motorcyclist has been involved in an accident for which someone else was to blame and as result of which they have suffered injury, damage to property and other losses.
Who can make a motorcycle accident claim?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and sustained injuries and/or damages to your motorbike and any other property, and the accident was as a result of the negligent driving or actions of someone else, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
To claim compensation for a motorcycle accident, you should consult a specialist personal injury lawyer with experience in road traffic accident (RTA) claims. Proving negligence in an RTA case can be complex, so it is important to seek legal advice from a qualified solicitor with experience in handling similar cases. They will be able to advise you on the merits of your case and guide you through the claims process, gathering the evidence you will need to prove that you were not to blame, and the injuries and losses you sustained. They will also seek to negotiate a settlement on your behalf and, if necessary, take the claim to court.
In the most serious cases, no amount of compensation can provide the recompense needed to put things right, especially if your injuries have been life-changing or your symptoms and suffering are ongoing. However, a compensation claim can help to ease any financial pressure caused by the accident. The claims process can also be used to help facilitate your recovery, where possible, and help you to get some justice for what has happened to you.
What will you need to prove a motorbike accident claim?
To succeed in bringing a motorcycle accident claim, you will need to show that the accident was caused or, at the very least, contributed to by the negligent driving or actions of someone else. This could include where someone has opened their passenger door on you.
All road users have a duty of care to ensure that any action they take, or fail to take, does not cause injury to other road users or damage to any property. As such, if you are able to show that any carelessness, inattention or recklessness of another person has caused the accident that you were involved in, you will have the basis of a claim in negligence.
In some cases, it may be unclear as to who is to blame for the accident. Any third party driver may only be partly responsible for what has happened, where you may also have contributed to the happening of the accident. However, this does not prevent you from bringing a motorbike accident claim and seeking compensation, even if you are equally responsible. In these circumstances, for example, where there is a 50/50 split on the issue of liability, you would still recover 50% of the full value of your claim.
What evidence will you need for a motorbike accident claim?
When a motorcycle accident happens, gathering evidence to prove a claim is often the last thing on the motorcyclist’s mind, especially if they have been injured. However, if you were able to obtain details of any witnesses to the accident or take photographs of the scene, including of any other vehicle(s) involved and/or any damage caused, this can be used to help support your compensation claim. Any photographic evidence of your injuries will also be helpful, as well as any police report to help corroborate your version of events. You might even have dash-cam footage or be able to obtain any CCTV footage in the locality.
However, even absent any evidence gathered at the time of the accident, it is still possible to prove negligence on the part of any third party driver based on evidence prepared after the event. This will include your own witness testimony and, if applicable, the testimony of any pillion passenger. Typically, in these types of cases, there will also be an engineer’s report for each vehicle involved in the accident, setting out the nature and location of any impact damage. Additionally, there will usually be an investigate report and photographs to illustrate the road layout, road markings and any traffic signs or signals, with the direction the parties were travelling in. Taken in conjunction with the accounts given by each party and any witnesses to the accident, this evidence can help to provide a basis upon which to conclude how, on a balance of probabilities, the accident is most likely to have happened.
Your solicitor will be able to gather all the evidence that you need to prove your motorcycle accident claim and to persuade the third party insurers that their client was to blame for the accident. In these circumstances, where the insurers are happy to admit liability for the accident on their client’s behalf, the matter would progress to discussions around how much the claim is worth and how much compensation they are prepared to pay you.
In most cases, out-of-court settlement offers tend to reflect a fair sum for the injuries and financial losses sustained by an innocent motorcyclist, similar to what you would be awarded in any event if the matter came before the courts. However, in those cases where liability remains in dispute or an agreement cannot be reached as to how much your claim is worth, court proceedings will need to be issued. In these cases, in addition to any written witness statement already provided, you may also be required to give oral testimony, both as to the happening of the accident and the nature and extent of your injuries and losses.
How much is compensation for a motorbike accident claim?
The amount of compensation that you may receive in a motorcycle accident claim will depend on the severity of your injuries and the extent of any financial losses.
Compensation for your injuries
When it comes to any physical injury, you will be awarded a sum of money to reflect the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by that injury. This is known as a claim for general damages. This will include an element to compensate you for the impact on your working life, social life, family life and hobbies. For example, if you had to have time off work and have been unable to go to the gym, these factors will be taken into account when assessing the amount of compensation within the appropriate range for the injury sustained. A similar approach will also be adopted for any psychological injury suffered, such as nightmares, sleep disturbance, travel anxiety and depression, although you will rarely receive an entirely separate award for each injury, but rather a sum to reflect the totality of your injuries taken together and the overall impact that these have had on you.
Under the ‘Judicial College Guidelines (JCGs) for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases’, these guidelines set out the range of awards that the court is likely to make for different categories of injury, together with some guidance as to what features would justify either a higher or lower award in certain types of cases.
For motorcycle accidents, these can result in a wide range of injuries, including orthopaedic injuries to the neck or back, broken bones, injuries to internal organs, or even injuries involving paralysis or serious brain and head injuries. For example, for injuries resulting from brain damage in the JCGs (16th edition), the level of awards within the very severe bracket range from £282,010 to £403,990, depending on the claimant’s life expectancy, degree of insight, ability to communicate and any behavioural problems. In contrast, for a tibia or fibula fracture of the claimant’s leg, where there has been a complete recovery, general damages would be between £7,080 to £9,000, where the level of award will be influenced by the time spent in plaster and the length of the recovery period.
However, each claim will be different, where any assessment made has to be based upon the facts of the particular case and range of injuries sustained. Very often, when it comes to motorcycle accidents, the claimant will suffer a combination of different injuries, some minor and some more serious. For those injuries where there are long-lasting or permanent effects, with a significant impact on the claimant’s qualify of life, the higher the award.
Compensation for any financial losses
When it comes to financial losses, you will be awarded a separate sum of compensation for any monetary losses flowing from the accident. This is known as special damages.
A claim for special damages could include, for example, the cost to repair any damage to your motorbike or its write-off value, as well as loss of earnings as a result of any time taken off work to recover from your injuries. It could also include claims for any medical treatment and prescriptions, together with the cost or value of any care received during your recovery, even if provided free-of-charge by a friend or family member. In the most serious cases, compensation can also cover the cost of any mobility aids and adaptations.
How long does a motorcycle accident claim take?
The time involved to resolve a motorcycle accident claim will all depend on the complexity of the facts involved, and whether or not the insurers are prepared to accept liability on the part of the third party driver. In most cases, unless the facts are extremely clear cut, you will need your solicitor to help build you a case against the driver responsible. You will also need to obtain expert medical opinion in support of the nature and extent of the injuries sustained to help assess the value of any compensation award. This can take several months or even years, especially where the prognosis for your recovery is not immediately clear.
Every motorcycle accident claim is different and some can take longer than others. However, statistically speaking, few motorbike accident claims reach court, where insurers will very often make offers of early settlement to help minimise the litigation risks.
Where the claim is likely to be contested or involves serious injuries, your motorcycle injury lawyer will also often seek an interim payment to ensure that your financial needs are covered in the meantime. As such, with specialist legal advice and representation, you may be able to receive the money that you need to move forward sooner than you think.
How long do you have to bring a motorcycle accident claim?
When making a motorcycle accident claim, there is a time limit for doing so, where you will only usually have 3 years from the date of the accident to issue court proceedings. It is therefore important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you are close to the 3-year time limit, this does not mean that any claim must be concluded within this timeframe, although a claim form must have been issued prior to expiry of this limitation period.
Seeking legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity will provide your solicitor with the opportunity to gather the relevant evidence to help build your case and to negotiate an out-of-court settlement without the need to issue proceedings before being time-barred. However, even if your 3 years is almost up, your solicitor can still issue protective proceedings to stop time from running, providing you with the chance to claim the full compensation that you deserve.
Motorbike accident claims FAQs
What can you claim in a motorcycle accident?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, and you sustained injuries and financial losses as a result, including damage to your motorbike and loss of earnings, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
How much are most motorcycle accident settlements?
The compensation payouts for motorcycle accident claims can vary, depending on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained. If the injuries are serious, with a lengthy period off work and significant loss of earnings, this could run into thousands.
How much compensation will I get for a motorcycle accident UK?
The amount of compensation that you could get for a motorcycle accident for which someone else was to blame will depend on how seriously you were injured in the accident and the extent of any financial losses flowing from this.Can I claim compensation for motorcycle accident?
Can I claim compensation for motorcycle accident?
You may be able to claim compensation if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault and this resulted in damage to your motorbike, physical and/or psychological injury, loss of earnings and out-of-pocket expenses.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.