Digby Brown’s motorcycle accident lawyers share answers to key questions from clients

Motorcycle handlebars and throttle

“I was injured whilst riding my bike, but the police haven’t charged the car driver and said it was just an accident. Can I still claim?”

– Yes, you can. Just because someone isn’t charged, doesn’t mean they’re not at fault.

Criminal law and Civil law are two separate areas of law in Scotland.

Criminal law cases must prove beyond reasonable doubt

In criminal cases, The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)  take charge of a prosecution and require to prove a case against an accused beyond reasonable doubt. 

Civil law cases have a lower legal test

In civil law, the law that governs claims for compensation (known as ‘damages’), the legal test is lower.

Must prove negligence on balance of probabilities

We only need to prove a case on the balance of probabilities. That means what is more likely than not to have happened.

So, whilst the Police or the COPFS may not have corroborative evidence, or think that they are unlikely to achieve a conviction for breaches of the Road Traffic Act, as long as we can show that it is likely that the driver’s conduct fell below what would be expected of a reasonably competent driver, that is often sufficient.

In civil law, we set out to establish whether driving was negligent, and whether this negligence (or fault) caused the accident. Often, the highway Code is the starting point.

Did the driver leave a safe braking distance?
Did they fail to keep a proper look out?
Or fail to give way?

Negligent driving need not be so bad as to amount to careless driving to enable a claim in civil law to succeed.

“The other driver was at fault for the motorcycle accident. I’ve had to buy a new set of leathers and a helmet. Can I get my money back?” 

- The aim of compensation is to try and put you back, as closely as possible, to where you would have been were it not for the accident

No-one can undo the ill-effects of an injury. We know all too well from our everyday experience that money won’t make you better.

However, compensation can help:

  • Get you back on your feet again
  • Cover your wage loss
  • Help you pay for nursing care,
  • Cover the extra miles you’ve had to travel to get to and from medical appointments.

In claims for compensation for personal injury following an accident, the claim will be set out as being for a sum of money.

How is your motorcycle accident claim valued?

The way a claim is valued depends on what losses have been suffered.

1. Pain and suffering from accident

Generally, following a motorcycle accident where you have been injured, there would be a claim for your pain and suffering (known in Scotland as “solatium”).

That part of the claim is valued by considering the extent of your injuries, as assessed by an independent medical expert, with reference to previously decided cases and guidelines which are given to the courts.

2. Out of pocket expenses from accident

In addition to the injury part of the claim, your out of pocket expenses would be included such as:

  • your kit, including your helmet;
  • any policy excess or the cost of the damage to your bike;
  • wage loss linked to time off work because of the accident;
  • help that you have required from family members as you make your recovery.

In more serious cases, claims can include future wage loss, housing adaptations, the cost of prosthetic limbs, nursing care, and the cost of having your motorcycle adapted to get you back on the road (amongst other things – each case is different).

In the case of a fatal accident, immediate family members can claim for grief, sorrow and loss of society, and certain relatives can claim for loss of financial support.

“How do I make a motorcycle accident claim?”

It’s easier than you might think

At Digby Brown, we specialise in helping motorcyclists who have been injured through the fault or negligence of someone else.

Once you instruct our specialist motorcycle accident lawyers, they will intimate a claim on your behalf, usually to the motor insurers of the driver who caused your accident.

Our specialist solicitors will provide you with expert legal advice and guide you through the process from start to finish.

“I’m off work because of my injuries. I can’t afford to pay a lawyer right now”

That’s not a problem

At Digby Brown, we work on a ‘no win, no fee basis’. It is used as a way of funding a compensation claim where the accident victim does not have the means to pay for the costs involved as the case progresses.

We don’t ask our clients to pay on a weekly or monthly basis.

What this means for our clients is that instead of having to pay upfront for legal services, and still being at risk of paying the other side’s costs if you were to lose your case, we are able to offer our complete financial protection.

Digby Brown has its own funding company, Compensate, which provides the funding to allow the case to be fully investigated, employ the best experts surrounding the circumstances of the accident and/or injuries sustained and if necessary go to court.

Find more information about funding a motorcycle accident claim.