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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Challenges to liability in motorcycle accidents

Any specialist motorcycle lawyer will likely, at one point or another, have faced a challenge to liability in a personal injury case where their gut will tell them that if the client had been driving a car, the issue simply wouldn’t have been raised.

We know that the injuries suffered by motorcyclists tend to be more serious than those of other road users, and so in an effort to keep the amount of any settlement down, insurers regularly try to shift the blame.

Other drivers often forget that motorcyclists are vulnerable road users. Despite making up only 1% of the traffic on the road, bikers account for between 20-25% of serious or fatal road accidents.

We know that two wheels are less stable than four, and an emergency braking situation for a motorcyclist can be catastrophic on a bend or an overtake.

Helmet cameras and on bike cameras are becoming increasingly popular, and can be very useful in showing ‘what happened’. Sometimes, witnesses volunteer their own dash-cam footage. These are very helpful in persuading the courts and insurers that the rider is not at fault.

Because only a small percentage of the population ride motorcycles, they are not on the look out for bikes on the road. We can all play our part here – the “think bike” campaign is helping to raise awareness. In winter when there are fewer bikes in the road, drivers do not always expect to see their two-wheeled friends.

It is not unusual to have witnesses talk of bikes “coming out of nowhere” – because the witness hasn’t been aware of the bike.  Bikes have greater manoeuvrability than cars, and can come through stationary or slow moving traffic.

Drivers and passengers in cars with radios on, engrossed in conversation, sometimes won’t even be aware of a bike passing them until it’s ahead and passing the next car, if they notice at all.  Some riders choose to modify their exhausts (or ‘cans’) to make others aware of their presence. That can come with their own problem though, as some are illegal modifications and can exceed noise restrictions.

Some witnesses regularly talk about the motorcycle ‘flying by’, whereas there is little or no evidence of the motorcycle travelling at speed. Recent research on the perceived speed of large moving objects, compared to smaller moving objects, has revealed the presence of a size-speed illusion. This illusion, where a large object seems to be moving more slowly than a small object travelling at the same speed may account for some of the discrepancies in reports of speed.

Those used to seeing bikes or other riders can more readily assess speed, than those who are used to slow moving vehicles, or those who look up and have to quickly assess the speed of a small (compared to a large car) motorcycle.

Sometimes, however, speed is an issue. Bikes have much greater torque and acceleration than cars, vans or lorries, due to their weight to power ratio. That can take motorists by surprise. Inexperienced riders can have difficulty controlling the acceleration of large or powerful machines. If there is a ‘wobble’ on a bike, then the gyroscopic effect can cause the bike to become unstable, and the rider to lose control. The difficulty is in proving to a court that the resultant loss of control was cause by the rider reacting to someone else’s negligence or fault, particularly when faced with seemingly unhelpful witness evidence.

What can you do to help make sure your injury case is successful?

Make sure you are ‘doing everything right’, not only so that the insurers can’t try to blame you, but to avoid the accident in the first place.

What are you wearing? Are you visible? Are your lights clean? Is your bike well maintained? Do your brakes work? Are your tyres legal?

These sound like very basic questions, and they’re meant to be. At a very basic level, we all have a duty to take care for our own safety.

We can’t control what other road users do, and we need to be able to respond to changing situations.

Give yourself a fighting chance of being seen, and being able to ride your way out of an emergency.

If you’ve done everything right, and are dressed appropriately, and riding carefully, your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident are reduced.

Despite that, things can still go wrong and accidents happen.

Choosing a specialist motorcycle lawyer is a good start. The arguments we face regularly from insurers such as who was at fault can often be overcome. No matter how experienced your lawyer is after an accident, prevention is better than cure.

Lianda Barnes, Partner

Lianda Barnes,


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kirkcaldy office raise £1,816 for Frontline Fife

The team from our Kirkcaldy office had a night at the races on 26th October at their first Race Night in aid of Frontline Fife, their chosen charity of the year.

Throughout the evening the team managed to raise a fantastic £1,816. Guests were given the opportunity to sponsor races and horses and take part in a raffle which included a great selection of prizes such as a microlight flight experience, an overnight hotel stay, and restaurant vouchers.

Prizes from the Kirkcaldy Race Night

Frontline Fife offer support to those who already find themselves homeless as well at those who are at risk of losing their home. With their range of services, they aim to end homelessness across Fife by combatting the causes through early intervention and prevention.

Lianda Barnes, Partner in our Kirkcaldy office said: “We are delighted to have raised such an amazing amount for our chosen charity Frontline Fife. We would like to thank everyone who came along and made the night such a success.

“Frontline Fife are a wonderful charity and we are proud to be able to provide them with funds that will help them to continue providing their essential services.”

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Legal promotions across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Kirkcaldy offices

Digby Brown Solicitors is pleased to announce the appointment of three new Associates and three new Senior Solicitors in a series of promotions across the firm’s Glasgow, Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy offices.

Amy Alexander, Hollie Dilasser and Richard Pitts have all been appointed as Associates.

Hollie Dilasser, Richard Pitts and Amy Alexander, promoted to associate May 2018

Amy joined Digby Brown as a trainee in 2012 and is based in the Glasgow Network department. She is renowned for her efficiency in securing excellent results for clients. She has considerable experience of public liability, employer liability and occupiers liability as well as road traffic law.

Amy said: “'I'm delighted to have been selected for promotion to Associate. I am keen to continually contribute to firm’s success, help clients in need and look forward to my journey ahead.”

Hollie joined Digby Brown from a niche property firm in September 2011 and is part of the Edinburgh Network department. She has shown great tenacity and expertise in road traffic law and cycling claims on the east coast.

She said: “I am delighted and proud to be promoted to an Associate within Digby Brown. I hope to continue to build on the work I have done since joining the firm and helping clients in their time of need."

Richard first joined the firm six years ago as a trainee and earned his promotion through his work in the specialist areas of criminal injuries and non-accidental injuries based in Edinburgh. He added: “I have enjoyed my time with the firm enormously – I find the work challenging and rewarding and look forward to this continuing.”

Caitlyn Maccabe, Ryan Smith and Lisa Gaule are promoted to Senior Solicitor

Of the three new Senior Solicitors, Caitlyn Maccabe is part of the firm’s Industrial Disease team in Glasgow, Ryan Smith sits within Digby Brown’s Kirkcaldy Insurance Litigation team and Lisa Gaule is part of the firm’s Network department in Edinburgh.

Fraser Oliver, Chief Executive of Digby Brown, welcomed the new Associates and Senior Solicitors into their new roles at the firm.

He said: “These new appointments are rightfully-earned and are a clear illustration of our current activity and intended direction as a leading personal injury firm.

“Our clients expect us to be leaders in everything we do and by investing in our staff we aim to unlock their potential in the hope we can meet, and maybe even surpass, these expectations.”

"In serving clients our mission is threefold – to provide excellence in access to justice, to be recognised as the leading PI practice in Scotland and to be an employer of choice."

Photo Credit for image above: Ross Barber Photography.
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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Thousands raised in Edinburgh Marathon for local charities

Four of our offices decided to take part in this years’ Edinburgh Marathon Relay on Sunday 27th May – with one person running the half marathon - to raise money for local charity partners. In total, they have raised an incredible £2,702 with donations still coming in.

Edinburgh office fundraise for Fresh Start

This is the second year our Edinburgh office have taken part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival for charity partner Fresh Start, who help homeless people get started in their new homes and stay in their new accommodation. This year, the office decided to put forward two relay teams for the Edinburgh Marathon with one runner taking part in the half marathon.

The first relay team was Simon Hammond, Lyndsey Gardner, Kim Catterall and Ashley Sturrock and the second team included Edward Ferguson, Catherine Hammond, Hollie Dilasser and Rachel Black. Donald Mackay ran the half marathon in 2 hours and 11 minutes. Together, they have raised £1,175 for Fresh Start.

Kim Catterall, Rachel Black and Edward Ferguson at the end of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival relay.

Pictured above: Kim Catterall, Rachel Black and Edward Ferguson

Edinburgh office:

“We had two relay teams of four people and one running the half marathon on Sunday. For some, this was the first time they had run such a distance but the support on the day from members of the public who came along to cheer on all the runners really pushed everyone on.

“Fresh Start is a charity close to our hearts and we are delighted to say we have raised almost £1,200 with donations still coming in. We hope this can help homeless people get settled into new homes to help end the cycle of homelessness.”

Digby Brown Kirkcaldy run for Frontline Fife

This is also the second time that the Kirkcaldy office has taken part in the Edinburgh Marathon Relay, but this time it is for charity Frontline Fife, their new charity partner for 2018/19.

Frontline Fife are a charity based in Kirkcaldy who aim to end homelessness in the Fife area by offering support to people to help them keep their home and prevent homelessness.

The Kirkcaldy relay team was Innes Laing, Ryan Smith, Adelle Walker and Claire Thomson and they raised £522 so far for Frontline Fife with donations still coming in. The office already held a charity quiz night earlier this year which raised over £600 and have planned their next fundraiser - a charity race night on 25th October. For more details, please contact shona.ewing@digbybrown.co.uk

The Kirkcaldy relay team at the end of the Edinburgh Marathon: Claire Thomson, Adelle Walker, Innes Laing and Ryan Smith

Pictured above: Claire Thomson, Adelle Walker, Innes Laing and Ryan Smith

Kirkcaldy office:

"The relay was a great experience, which made all the training worthwhile. The money that the team raised for Frontline Fife helps them continue with the vital work they do in the local Kirkcaldy area. Thanks to everyone who donated to support this great local charity.”

Dundee office fundraise for Food Train

The Dundee office are keen runners and have previously taken part in the Tough Mudder and Santa fun run for charities.

The office also had two relay teams taking part this year with Chris Ritchie, Alasdair Dunlop, Jennifer Watson and Steph Reid in one, and Claudia McEachen, Sarah Douglas, Euan Robertson and Matthew Keogh in the second. They raised £465 for charity partner Food Train.

Food Train provide support services, delivered by volunteers, to help older people live independently at home for as long as possible. This can range from food shopping to offering befriending services.

The Dundee relay teams after completing the Edinburgh Marathon

Pictured above: Sarah Douglas, Chris Ritchie, Jennifer Watson, Claudia McEachen, Euan Robertson, Matthew Keogh and Alasdair Dunlop

"The Hairy Haggis Relay was a great experience for the Digby Brown Dundee teams. It brought us all closer together knowing that our hard work and dedication was helping raise money for our great charity partner, the Food Train. We were delighted with our performance on the day and to have raised a significant amount of money for the Food Train. Thank you so much to all who kindly donated."

Aberdeen runs for Cash for Kids

Our Aberdeen office are on a running extravaganza as they have already taken on the 10k Baker Hughes Challenge and put forward a relay team with Neil Davidson, Jordan McCarter, Kimberley MacLennan and Amy Shand. In June, they also plan to take part in the Tough Mudder. So far, they have raised £540 for Northsound Cash for Kids, a charity helping disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under 18 across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Amy Shand, Kimberley MacLennan and Neil Davidson after completing the relay at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival

Pictured above: Amy Shand, Kimberley MacLennan and Neil Davidson

“We are no Mo Farahs, but we gave it our best effort and are very pleased with our result! More importantly, we are delighted with the sum of money we have raised for Cash for Kids. We know that all the funds raised make such a difference in the local community. Thank you to everyone for their generous donations."

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Supporting Bikes in the Park Kirkcaldy

The annual "Bikes in the Park" event has been re-arranged for Sunday 3rd June at Kirkcaldy Ice Arena at Rosslyn Street, bringing together thousands of motorcyclists from Fife and across Scotland.

Unfortunately due to bad weather the event was cancelled at Beveridge Park but has been re-arranged for an indoors venue.

Bikes in the Park is brought to you by Kirkcaldy District Motorcycle Club (KDMC) and will open to all comers at 10am. Tickets are £5, with under 16's given free entry. You can also book your bike in for free or book a trade or club stand by emailing unionmills@virginmedia.com

This is a relaxed gathering and offers bikers and families a great chance to see some vintage machines along with trade stands offering everything from clothing to bike accessories. Digby Brown are proud to sponsor the "Best Twin Cylinder Machine" trophy, which will be awarded as the day draws to a close.

Trophies and awards for Bikes in the Park including the

On top of this, the event will also see the launch of Volume 3 of the Kirkcaldy District Motorcycle Club book of archived photos from their decades of involvement in motorcycle sport in Scotland.

Our Motorcycle Law Department, a team of specialist motorcycle lawyers based across our seven offices and covering the whole of Scotland, are delighted to once again be supporting Kirkcaldy and District Motor Club for the season.

Lianda Barnes, Partner and Motorcycle Law specialist at Digby Brown's Kirkcaldy office, said “We are delighted to support Bikes in the Park again this year. This is a fabulous local event that brings bikers together from across Scotland.

“Kirkcaldy was once home to a motorcycle racing circuit until the 1980s and we’re very proud to be associated with bringing back bikes to the centre of Kirkcaldy”.

You can find more details over on the KDMC events page.

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