Please help. Not at fault but insurers say must take 70%-30% decision.
Hi, I hope some one can help. My son was knocked off his motorcycle last year by a car pulling out to the right from a stationary line of cars waiting at a set of pedestrian crossing lights. He was not riding dangerously, he was not breaking any laws and his insurers/solicitors, after making him wait almost a year, have now said he is 70% responsible and if he does not accept their decision, they will no longer represent him.
The road at this point has three lanes, one for going ahead, one for a right turn that is some ten meters back from the pedestrian crossing and the one for oncoming traffic.
My son was overtaking the stationary cars, using the right hand lane and travelling very slowly when, without warning, a car pulled out of the stationary line of traffic, hit my son knocking him off his bike and drove off up the right hand side street.
Witnessed (in written statements) said the car did not indicate and clearly he did not check his mirrors or he would have seen my son. The young company Rep' driving the car eventually came back and details were exchanged. This happened in a residential area and my comment was what if this had been a child on a bicycle turning right? Conditions were dry and clear in full daylight with good visibility all round. He has an Advanced Riding Instructor who is prepared to say in his opinion my sons actions were not unsafe as they clearly were not.
My son is being punished by a major company defending the reckless driving of one of their young Reps and it is despicable that my sons insurers are virtually blackmailing him.
All advice gratefully received and thanks in advance.
Yet another example of the arrogant behavior of some insurance companies. If you trawl back through this forum you would find many similar threads, although your son does seem to have a much stronger case than most.
All I can suggest is to get a solicitor involved - maybe they would take it up as a no-win-no-fee - I don't know, but it would surely be worth the initial expense, even if they won't.
Thanks for the input mate and I agree, he does have a strong case...or at least I thought so, his friend who was in a car one in front of the impatient idiot who pulled out, thought so too as he was looking in his drivers door mirror when he heard my sons bike coming up. It's the solicitors acting for my sons insurers who don't seem to think so, (though when I spoke to them last year they said he had a good case).
That is despite us providing Google Earth photographs of the scene, pictures at ground level showing the pedestrian crossing and the right hand junction the car driver made a dash for without looking behind and a plan view drawing of the scene showing the position of all vehicles at the time. And the written statement by the car driver one car in front of the guilty party.
He has already had to pay out to get the bike back from the repair centre the insurers chose as they refused to release it without payment.
He is also now paying an increased premium as the insurers say he is guilty until proved innocent.
I was over seas when the incident occurred or I would have insisted reporting the drivers actions to the Police for dangerous driving/driving without due care and attention.
The case quoted on other posts on here says the law found the main points that would pin the majority of the blame on to the motorcyclist are passing/filtering at excessive speed and the car driver un-sighted by a large vehicle behind him. MY son was doing less than ten miles per hour approaching the crossing and the car behind the guilty one was no higher than his. He simply did not look but just pulled out.
So, you see, I just cannot see how the insurers can apportion any blame onto my son.
Incidentally, if anyone on here has any legal training, what do you recommend?
I am going to call my sons insurers and ask to have their reasoning explained to me. If they quote the most recent case cited on here, my son does not fall into the part where a portion of the blame can be attached to him.
I am going to insist they do not pursue the 70%-30% decision...that is just in the guilty partys' favour...how can that be fair. My concern is if they refuse. What can I do then?
Threaten them with the Insurance Ombudsman? These are the solicitors acting for my son. If he/we do not agree to accept their decision, they have told him they will no longer act for him. What can I do then? I am prepared to go to another solicitor but does that mean we have to pay? Logically it does but again, how can that be fair if my sons premiums have already paid for his so called legal advice/assistance?
I am disgusted at the so called support paid for in his mandatory insurance cover, it has been anything but. My son is a typical young man who has been confused and brow beaten by unscrupulous 'professionals' who've taken the money off an average naive young lad but can't be a***d to actually do the job they're paid to do.
And how can they lose? If he 'folds' and accepts, he loses his NCB and is penalised yet again for the actions of an impatient, dangerous fool in his company BMW. Excuse the rant, but I'm finding this whole issue incredibly frustrating.
Well, onto the phone and prepare to politely tear them a new.....
I'm with you all the way there Robert, as previously mentioned if you have a look through these forums, you will read umpteen similar posts like yours. In fact we had a thread going on here, just about insurance companies, and their attitude towards their customers?It's just amazing how they can believe all the lies, and obvious false statements, from people who lie through their teeth to get out of being held responsible for their actions?Along with settling for 50/50 decisions, when it's obvious that one driver is totally at fault, they do that rather then get involved in court actions?Personally, I think the whole car insurance industry, needs to be supervised, and held responsible for their decisions, good luck with your sons claim.
Get rid orf of the solicitor. He probably paid up to a thousand pounds to take on your case from the insurance company. Its up to you not them they just want an easy time of it, spend less and gain more. Afterall they are getting paid through the insurance anyway.
Get rid and look up specialist motorcycle solicitors as they know what they are doing. Buy a MC News or similar and you will see their Adverts. Chat with them and get references. Your claim has been made so there is no rush.
When you think that we represent only 1 % of vehicular traffic then it stands to reason that we are only 1% of references to solicitors so its understandable they dont know our form of transport whereas a specialist solicitor does.
So Change and dont be put of by the Insurance company. They have no right to dictate who you use even tho its written in the small print that they have. That could be deemed an illegal contract as you have to have insurance by law you still maintain the right of choice.
A good solicitor would tear them to shreds so go and get one.
Let us know how you get on. Bets of luck
PS if the old solicitors want the monies back that they spent getting your referral from the insurers tell them to get stuffed or better to speak with your new solicitors You should not pay a penny to them as they act on behalf of the insurance company and not you.
They will threaten you with whatever but don't pay them a penny.
Last edited by judge dredd; 08-05-14 at 16:30.
My apologies for not thanking everyone for their input, it was informative and temporarily cheering.
Well, to bring the 'story' up to date, we did go to another solicitor. And though everything I wrote before is true and he accepted it as such, after consideration, his advice to my son is to settle for 50/50, if he can get it.
This is regardless that the witness in the car in front, (who worked with my son and was expecting him along any minute and so was looking out for him when he heard the bike coming), stated in his opinion the bike was travelling at less than 10 mph as he approached the red light at the crossing.
Regardless of the fact that the car that turned impatiently out did not indicate, clearly did not use his mirrors, was not in the lane to the right for turning right and did not stop. (When he eventually returned. initially he said he wasn't even sure they'd touched....so how fast could my son have been travelling?)
I'm disappointed at the opinion of the 'specialist' solicitor but he warns that the new ruling (??) makes it very difficult to get a good 'result' as the filtering biker and so he can't really be of anymore use than the company selected by the insurers, which I guess is either very fair of him or a veiled "I'm not touching these with a barge pole anymore". At that point he declined to offer any more advice as someone else was acting for us and it would be unethical, apparently.
I've read a lot about 'degrees of negligence', 'responsibility' and 'driving with due care and attention' and I can see his point. We/bikers acknowledge filtering (lets call it what it is, overtaking and legal as long as done safely.....which is very open to interpretation) is inherently a potentially dangerous action, but in all fairness, so it just taking to the roads today. So, with regret and the knowledge that we are on a 'hiding to nothing' here, I've told my son to accept.
He was lucky. He was not badly hurt and he has the luxury of a parent who will help with the increased insurance cost, costs of replacing the damaged safety clothing, including the 'High Viz' vest he was (and always does), wearing and paid to get the bike back from the repairers chosen by the Insurers who refused to release it without being paid for the work carried out.....almost 18 months ago now.
1) After settlement, change insurers.
2)I am going to pay for him to do his car driving test, with the attitude that 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em', happy in the knowledge that his choice of being a motorcyclist for four years will make him a much better road user than most of the selfish, uncaring, unconcerned and dangerously inept idiots in their mobile living rooms around him.
3)He is enrolling on a series of Rider Awareness/Training courses, run by the Police in W Sussex and highly recommended. It'll help with the insurance as an added bonus to skills acquired.
I am still the owner and regular rider of a bike, a large 'cruiser' with an engine size bigger than most small cars (and cost a lot more than most) but I also drive a Land Rover Discovery. It's bright silver, weighs a couple of tons and has good road presence and is hard to miss. They still pull out on me, mouthing "Sorry, didn't see you!". I travel the world and also spend a lot of time driving in the UK and I am disgusted by the levels of 'skill' shown by a very sizeable minority in this country, a country that supposedly prides itself on it's 'Safety Culture' and fair and reasoned Legal System.
Motorcycling, the related accidents and the Insurance Companies are subjects that need to be looked at and taken far more seriously.
The cost of motorcycles and their associated equipment today is on a par with cars. The level of training is harder than it's ever been and the post-pass restrictions would deter most car users if it was part of their requirement in training and qualifying. It is also acknowledged as a very positive environmental method of transportation. Yet we continue to be treated as second class citizens by the 'powers that be' and especially by the insurers, who are happy to take the premiums but reticent to provide the service they have been paid for or do so grudgingly with a negative viewpoint for their client, us.
It is acknowledged that while we are the ones who come off worst in most accidents, often we are guilty just by dint of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when some legally blind/distracted/half-trained/law flouting potential killer decides to manouver without any input of sensible judgement. And the people we turn to for help are then found to be, at best disinterested or discouraging and at worst, downright threatening. This includes our much vaunted police force.
We'll see if the 'other sides' solicitors will accept our offer, they're already been 'aggressive' in their stance with the 70/30 demand so I don't particularly hold out a lot of hope. Options? Come back on here, get a serious solicitors name, sell my Disco and go to court. I'll drive an old, road legal Land Rover if it means getting some justice.
Apologies again and thanks for letting me vent my spleen on this forum. I'll let you know how we get on.