Motorbike accident news


Cycle Safety and the Highway Code

Are you aware that it is a mandatory requirement of the Highway Code for all cycles to be fitted with reflectors and lights if being ridden at night?

Rule 60 of the Highway Code states that:

·       At night your cycle MUST have illuminated white front and red rear lights.

·       Your cycle MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 01 October 1985).

The above requirements within Rule 60 are mandatory. (The Highway Code emphasises this by highlighting the word “MUST” in bold capitals).

Rule 60 also states that:

·       While front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.

·       Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp

These two recommendations are not mandatory, but are good advice to cyclists to ensure that they are safe and visible to other road users.

Boyes Turner are instructed by many cycle users who have been injured whilst cycling in circumstances where the correct use of cycle lights might have helped avoid the accident, such as falling from the bike owing to unseen defects in the road surface or collisions with another vehicle whose driver didn't see them.

Boyes Turner recommend that all cyclists comply with the Highway Code, both for their own safety and to increase their prospects of recovering compensation in the event of an accident.

Additionally, other items such as reflective strips, reflectors that can be attached to cycle helmets and specially designed, bright clothing can make you more visible to other road users.

Boyes Turner are trustees of “Cycle-Smart”, a local cycle charity in Reading and share their aims to promote cycle safety.

Tragic motorbike accident leaves Commonwealth judo star with severe brain injury

A Scottish Commonwealth Games judo star, Stephanie Inglis is in a coma with a severe brain injury, fighting for her life after motorbike accident abroad in Vietnam.

Stephanie Inglis, 27, who won silver competing for Scotland in the women’s 57kg event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, had an accident in Ha Long, north east Vietnam, where she had gone to teach English for six months. Her skirt caught in a wheel and pulled her off the bike. She has sustained severe brain injuries and has been transferred to hospital in Hanoi in a critical state. She is in a coma and there has been a lot of bleeding and swelling to the brain.

Her family friend, Mr Ghelan, started an online fundraising page to help the family with medical costs running into thousands of pounds as her travel insurance said that she was not covered.  Her friend said that Stephanie had gone to south-east Asia in the belief that she had the correct insurance.

Adrianna Rajwa, a solicitor in Boyes Turner personal injury department comments:

“It must be a very difficult time for Stephanie’s family as there are many unknowns. No one knows the answer of how long the coma will last or how severe the brain damage will be. The question of prognosis after severe brain injury may not be available for weeks or even months. Recovery from a brain injury can be a slow process and may take many months or years. It could be at least a year after an accident before the extent of potential recovery becomes clear, at least physically; psychological recovery may take even longer”.

The long term effects of a brain injury can be seen in an excellent awareness raising documentary ‘A different brain’ by Louis Theroux, which was broadcasted on 15 May 2016 by BBC2. The documentary gives a snapshot of the months of work that goes into the rehabilitation process by a range of experts and specialists, including neuropsychologists, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, support workers and many others.

Boyes Turner personal injury team has represented many clients with severe brain injuries. By way of examples, we have acted on behalf of a University Student who suffered severe head injuries after a road traffic accident and on behalf of a 13 year old boy who was hit by a car.  We know that life with a brain injury can be very different, but it can be just as fulfilling with the right support and understanding.

Our expert brain injury lawyers aim to improve the quality of life of our clients by focusing on early rehabilitation and training. We have access to case managers to ensure that practical assistance is given as soon as possible and we can arrange for interim payments to be made to deal with any pressing financial needs or purchase any equipment or care that is necessary.

Our team are members of the Headway personal injury solicitors list which means we have agreed to work within the Headway personal injury lawyers code of conduct. Kim Smerdon, a Partner and head of the personal injury team, is a Trustee of Headway Thames Valley. This in turn means that by choosing us you can have confidence in the quality and expertise of our firm and our commitment to addressing your particular needs and circumstances.

Our priority is to work closely with the family of the injured person and to advise throughout the claim how we can help to obtain early interim payments to deal with rehabilitation costs, nursing care, specialist equipment, aids and appliances and money to replace lost income.

Motorcyclist wins compensation following tragic motorcycle accident

A 50 year old man, Mr Wiltshire, remembers leaving Tesco with nappies which he had just purchased for his grandchild, but that is all that he can remember. The next thing he remembers is waking up in intensive care some five days later. The injured man was advised that he was involved in a motorcycle accident when a car pulled out of a driveway and attempted to do a U-turn causing the accident. 

The motorcycle accident has left him with numerous injuries, including fractures to his right arm, leg and face, together with bleeding on his brain. Mr Wiltshire was employed as a production engineer at the time of his motorcycle accident however he is no longer able to continue with his work as a result of his injuries. He is therefore suffering extensive loss of earnings. Fortunately, his caring and loving wife quit her job to look after him for the first couple of months following discharge from the hospital. He was bedridden during this time and needed 24 hour care and assistance.

Mr Wiltshire sought specialist legal advice through his Union representatives in relation to the injuries and financial losses that he has sustained due to his injuries. Whilst motorcycle accidents do happen, the effect of them is profound on the injured party, together with their family members.  Mr Wiltshire was very fortunate to walk away with his life and has no bad feelings towards the negligent driver as a result.

Mr Wiltshire has had two operations since the motorcycle accident and still continues to have limited movement in his leg however is grateful that his life can still be enjoyed.

Moped rider secures compensation following partial paralysis after accident

A lady from Birmingham was involved in a horrific moped accident when she was driving along a road and the offending driver pulled out of a side road, without looking, and crashed into her vehicle, causing her catastrophic personal injuries.

She sustained severe injuries to her hip, sciatic nerve and her back, and was left partially paralysed in her left foot. The lady also underwent surgery which involved the insertion of plates and pins into her hip joint to keep them in place.

Sadly the injured lady is still continuing to have flashbacks from the accident, however now that the compensation claim has settled, she is well on her way to recovery. In total she spent 20 days in hospital and needed round the clock care due to the injuries she sustained. She is now able to mobilise with the use of a mobility vehicle however she can no longer walk without a stick or a wheelchair.

Following the accident she worked with specialist solicitors to bring a claim against the negligent driver, together with their insurers, who admitted liability early on. Valuation of her claim depended on her overall outcome. Her settlement included large claims for her future care and assistance and treatment that she is ultimately going to need.

Biker awarded £340k after road traffic accident results in amputation

  A 17 year old motorcyclist has recently been awarded £340,000 compensation following a road traffic accident in 2009.

Mr Wagner, a learner driver, was on his Honda motorcycle when he collided with a reversing milk tanker. The milk tanker driver was reversing his vehicle into a farm road and Mr Wagner was travelling at approximately 55 mph when he spotted the tanker in his path. Mr Wagner swerved to avoid the tanker but hit the rear offside wheel of a trailer attached to the tanker. He alleged that the driver carried out a manoeuvre which was dangerous, thus causing the accident.

Whilst the Judge found that the lorry driver was to blame he also said that Mr Wagner was 40% to blame for the accident for failing to keep a proper look out on the road.

As a result of the injuries sustained, Mr Wagner had his left leg amputated below the knee.

Kim Smerdon, a personal injury claim expert at Boyes Turner, said:

“This award is to be welcomed but the 40% deduction for contributory negligence means that he will not have recovered sufficient funds to allow him to purchase state of the art prosthetic limbs which really can make all the difference. It is very important that Mr Wagner gets the best expert advice as to what is available on his budget. I have seen the difference this makes to my own amputation clients”.

Paralysed motorcyclist to finally receive compensation

James West, a 25 year old motorcyclist, who was left paralysed from the waist down following an motorcycle accident in August 2012, is to finally receive his compensation following a High Court Judge ruling that he was in no way to blame for the accident.

James was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle along the B6047 in Leicestershire when he was hit by a truck driven by an employee of M A Clay Contracting.

The driver, Michael Myrie, was driving a Scania tipper lorry laden with asphalt travelling ahead of James in the same direction. Realising he had missed the right turning to his destination, Mr Myrie did a U turn into a layby so he could turn back. At this point, James was travelling at a reasonable speed and was attempting to overtake the lorry. However, the driver did not check his mirrors and see James and continued with the manoeuvre causing James to plough into the truck, unable to avoid the collision.

M A Clay denied liability at the Trial but the Judge found the lorry driver to be 100% responsible for the accident.

Sadly James, a former plumbing and heating engineer, suffered life changing injuries including a spinal cord break which left him paraplegic as well as a fractured skull and broken ribs.

James’ solicitors will now press for a substantial pay out to help fund his care and rehabilitation and much needed adaptations to his two storey home.

Kim Smerdon, specialist motorcycle accident claims solicitor, comments:

“Hopefully James can receive full compensation to allow him to have the best quality of life he can despite the awful injuries he has sustained. He will have significant and lifelong needs but will hopefully have the peace of mind that these costs will be covered by his compensation”.

Widow wins compensation for husband's motorcycle accident

The Court has recently ruled that a motorcyclist who died when he collided with a minibus was mainly to blame for the accident due to his excess speed.

Nevertheless the widow of the motorcyclist still obtained compensation as the driver of the minibus was also found 20% to blame.

The motorcyclist, a Paratrooper, was killed when the motorcycle he was riding collided with an Army minibus which had turned across his path. His widow sued the Ministry of Defence, the employers of the driver of the minibus.

The widow’s lawyers argue that although her husband was riding his motorcycle too fast, the driver of the minibus was also to blame because he should not have crossed the carriageway when he did as he did not have sufficient time to do so. The driver from the minibus denied liability.

However, in January the Court ruled that although the motorcyclist was largely to blame for the accident the minibus driver was also 20% liable and should therefore pay a fifth of the widow’s claim. The Court Judge ruled that although the motorcyclist was driving too fast the minibus driver should not have started to turn across the carriageway until he had satisfied himself as to the speed of the motorcycle.

Kim Smerdon, Partner specialising in motorcycle claims, says:

“This case demonstrates that it is always worth seeking legal advice whaever the circumstances are of the accident.  Even though the motorcyclist was largely to blame for the accident his widow will still receive compensation of around £100,000.00 as a result of the accident”.

Motorcyclist awarded £6 million in compensation following a motorbike crash in Germany

James Booth, a 39 year old Sales Director with IBM, suffered brain damage, multiple fractures and serious internal injuries when a tractor pulled into the path of his motorcycle near Baden Baden in 2009.

Mr Booth was in a coma for several weeks and 4 years on has been awarded compensation of £6.1 million to continue his rehabilitation including learning to walk again.

Prior to the accident, Mr Booth had a successful career at IBM and was a keen sportsman who undertook most activities including running the London marathon.

That has all changed and it is likely that he will never be able to return to work again.

Since the accident, Mr Booth has had intensive rehabilitation which has helped him to improve his speech and re-learn how to walk.

Kim Smerdon, Specialist Motorcyclist Solicitor says:

“Securing these funds to ensure that Mr Booth continues to get the support and rehabilitation that he needs to make further improvements and enhance the quality of his life”.

Motorcyclist receives £1.4 million compensation following motorbike accident

The claimant, a student in her late 20s, was riding her motorcycle in London when she was struck by a car reversing over a raised kerb.  Although the claimant was travelling at only 10 mph she hit the side of the car with force, catapulted into the road and sustained a broken lower left leg, whiplash and a strain in her upper right shoulder.

Although initially she was told that she would recover within 6 months, her symptoms deteriorated and she began experiencing numbness and tingling in her left leg and was diagnosed with a foot drop, resulting in a limp.  She was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), chronic pain initially affecting an arm or a leg before spreading throughout the body.

She was eventually left with no voluntary movement in her lower body and has been confined to a wheelchair since 2009.  As a result of the worsening of her condition she also developed depression.

The claimant now requires a carer.

The compensation for her motorbike accident claim will allow her to find and adapt a suitable home and to fund her spinal cord stimulation and includes a claim for her loss of earnings.  At the time of the accident she was hoping to become a Physiotherapist and is now unlikely to fulfil that ambition.

Kim Smerdon, head of the personal injury team at Boyes Turner commented:

“This case illustrates that even low speed motorbike accidents can result in serious injuries.  Given the serious nature of the injuries sustained by the motorcyclist, this claim was heavily contested by the driver’s insurers and it shows how important it is to seek advice from specialist solicitors to ensure those with serious injury obtain maximum compensation from their motorbike accident claim”.

Motorcyclist liability - Wheels of steel

Recent decisions from the courts have shown that the speed at which a motorcyclist is travelling will have an important effect on the judge’s interpretation of liability in cases involving motorcyclists.

In the case of Stangroom v Brown (2012) EWCA Civ 424 the Court of Appeal found that the claimant motorcyclist had been entirely responsible for the accident. The claimant had accelerated on a bend and after colliding with the defendant’s vehicle was killed. The trial judge found that the speed of the motorcyclist (estimated at between 85 and 90 miles per hour and in excess of the speed limit) was a major cause of the accident. The police report had concluded that anyone travelling at 71 miles per hour would have been able to stop.

In the case of Woodham v Turner (2012) EWCA Civ 375 the claimant motorcyclist and a bus collided. Liability was initially apportioned in favour of the motorcyclist. The claimant had filtered past stationary or very slow moving traffic and as the bus emerged out of the junction a collision resulted. The claimant was found to have disregarded the foresee-ability of an accident and to have continued filtering when it was not safe to do so.

In the case of Burton v Evitt (2011) EWCA Civ 1378 the claimant motorcyclist was initially held two thirds responsible for the accident. The case proceeded to the Court of Appeal and the Court found that the claimant’s speed was a substantial cause of the accident. The claimant was again filtering and the judge commented that the motorcyclist’s speed was negligence of “a very high order” and was a substantial cause of the accident.

The Courts are increasingly concerned with the speed at which vehicles are travelling and it seems that there is an underlying concern that motorcycles are ridden fast and speed and the use of the manoeuvring such as filtering can be considered to be causative of accidents in many cases.

Kim Smerdon, a Personal Injury lawyer who specialises in motorcycle accidents and motorcycle claims, comments: “It has long been recognised that Courts regard the behaviour of motorcyclists as often more dangerous than their counterpart car drivers. Motorcyclists need to be aware that Courts are likely to increasingly scrutinise the behaviour of motorcyclists and in particular the use of filtering and speed generally will be reviewed carefully when considering apportionment of liability. Motorbike accidents often result in very serious injuries including spinal injuries and brain injuries as motorcyclists are very vulnerable in a road traffic accident. We are very familiar with the sort of arguments that are routinely put forward by insurance companies and car drivers. It is important to consult us early on if you are involved in a motorbike accident and suffer a motorcycle injury as we are expert motorbike accident solicitors and can advise as to liability issues and early payment of compensation.”

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