John Randell from Swansea was on his usual way home from work recently when his bike hit a patch of diesel, destroying his bike and fracturing his arm and leg. “I don’t see why I or my motorcycle insurance should have to pay for this, but I’m not sure where I stand?
The first thing he should do if he hasn’t already, is to report the incident to the police straight away and get an incident reference number. This is important otherwise he may not be able to pursue the matter fully.
He does have the right to pursue his losses and also a claim for personal injuries. The first place to start is against the local council/authority who are responsible for making sure the roads are free from defects.
They will be able to advise him of any reports of any previous diesel spillages and he will be able to see whether they knew or ought to have know of the problem and if they did, what if anything did they do about it. If reasonable steps to clear up the spillage were not taken, they would be liable.
If the local authority/council are not liable for any reason, the next step is to refer your claim onto the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIIB) who will consider such claims where diesel has been deposited by an untraced vehicle. A clam form will have to be sent to them within three years (within nine months if the claim is limited to damaged property only) of an accident but the sooner the better.
They will investigate but before doing so, one of the MIB’s conditions is that the incident was reported to the police within 14 days if the claim is for injuries only, five days if the claim includes property damage.
These timescales are obviously very tight and whilst the MIB do not always stick to these requirements in every single case, they would be within their rights to dismiss a claim if these conditions have not been complied with.