Is the tide turning for motorbike accident claimants?
April 7, 2014
In a recent motorbike accident claim, the High Court determined the degree of fault to be apportioned between and motorcyclist who was overtaking 2 lines of traffic and a motorist who was crossing the traffic to turn right out of a side road. It may be the start of the courts recognising the realities of driving in heavy traffic and might make it easier for us to recover more compensation for motorbike accident claims.
In earlier cases, the Courts have generally found the motorcyclist to be the most at fault on the basis that he or she should take extra care when riding outside the traffic, often travelling partly on the wrong side of the road. In this case, the car driver was emerging from a side road. Having checked that the cars to his right were allowing him to cross in front of them, he pulled out and turned right, straight into the path of the motorcyclist who was thrown off the bike and sustained serious injuries. The judge found that the driver had not even thought about the possibility of a motorbike coming from his right but he should have done.
In this day and age, in busy traffic, drivers should be aware of the likelihood of motorcycles and even pedal cycles moving along outside the lines of stationary cars.
The judge decided that the driver was two-thirds to blame for the accident. The motorcyclist was one-third to blame for not seeing the car turning – in reality, he should have noticed the gap left by the cars giving way and realised that a car might be coming out of the side road.
The motorcyclist recovered a substantial sum even though it was reduced by one-third to reflect his part in the accident – and it was a lot more than if he'd been found more to blame than the car driver.
All cases like this turn on their own facts but it is no longer the case that overtaking lines of traffic will make the biker more liable. Drivers have to use their common sense and keep their wits about them when manoeuvring in heavy traffic.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.