Knocked off my bike, what's my claim worth?

By Marc Abbott -

Riding Skills

 08 October 2009 18:53

I was knocked off my motorcycle going into a roundabout. Liability was admitted and my bike was a write-off. I did receive compensation for the bike but am still awaiting compensation for my injuries.

The solicitors who contacted me at the time of the accident were connected to my insurance company and they approached me in the first instance.

For the last two years and four months I have been back and forth to the doctors/hospital, had an operation on my hand, etc, all of which have been taken into account in the confirmation from medical experts.

I have not ridden a motorcycle since the accident; I dare not even think about it without bursting into tears as I still am under mental stress which I am trying to combat, though carrying on working to help me forget.

The other party has, according to my solicitor, offered a measly sum of £3500 which my solicitor said was not enough and that £5000 was enough to cover my injuries and loss of amenities!

How pitiful is this? I rejected this 'offer' and told my solicitor so. Their response was to ask me what I thought was a reasonable offer.

I¹ve heard of past cases of whiplash receiving more than this figure, how absurd is this?

North East Lady Biker, email
It is not for a law firm to ask you what you think your claim is worth. It is the solicitor¹s job to collect and analyse the evidence and advise you on the value of the claim.

This includes gathering medical evidence in all relevant disciplines. I am very concerned that your claim may have been significantly under-valued.

I have not seen the medical evidence so cannot be certain but from what you tell me I would be recommending obtaining evidence from a psychiatrist as I suspect you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD - a recognized psychiatric disorder) and it would be prudent to have this confirmed, even were I to be wrong and to have it discounted.

At the very least I suspect that you are suffering from a phobic anxiety disorder, the phobia being returning to motorcycling. It may be the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be utilised to treat this.

However it may be that you will, for the rest of your driving years, be forced to use a car rather than a motorcycle. That is likely to have a significant cost implication for years to come and this annual loss should be claimed.

A note of caution ­ the media can portray the simplest of injuries as attracting huge damages awards. Damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (called General Damages) in England and Wales are mean. It is nothing like the situation in America.

The major compensation sums come from loss of earnings claims as a result of the injuries sustained. A relatively minor injury can have a significant impact on earnings potential.

Think of a theoretical example of a premier league footballer having a motorcycle accident that damages his ankle so that he cannot play in the premier league again.

One can immediately envisage a future loss of earnings claim in the many hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds, whereas the injury itself may only be worth £10,000 or so.

I would recommend that you consider changing solicitors, which is free of charge to you. Your claim can then be fully investigated and properly quantified, if it has not been already.

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