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Diesel death landmark

Published: 27 December 2006

The UK’s first ever compensation claim for the death of a biker caused by a diesel spill has been submitted.

This landmark case is the first time the family of a deceased biker have ever filed a compensation claim with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau following a crash caused by diesel.

The MIB handles cases where negligent parties are unknown or untraceable following road accidents and offer compensation from a central pot that we all contribute to through our own insurance.

Diesel spill cases often go through the MIB since the offender of a diesel spill can rarely be traced.

Andrew Campbell of Withy King, a biking specialist lawyer, agreed to undertake the landmark claim on behalf of the family of Chris Cooper, a biker killed in a fatal diesel spill earlier in the year. Cooper lost control of his Yamaha Royal Star 1300 on a large diesel slick in Lincolnshire and collided with a van travelling in the opposite direction.

The Coroner explained at the inquest that: “The spillage led to Mr Cooper losing control of his motorcycle and the subsequent accident.”

Andrew Campbell, a supporter of the Kill Spills campaign, said: “Death due to diesel spills is incredibly rare but there are an increasing number of accidents as a result of fuel spills. They’re preventable and caused by negligent drivers.

“The Motor Insurers’ Bureau is likely to compensate Mr Cooper’s family due to the strong evidence showing the diesel spill caused the accident. Whilst it won’t bring him back it will help ease the financial burden that his death has left.”

Statistics from the Department for Transport show a biker is twice as likely to be injured in a diesel crash than as a result of black ice, and three times as likely as a crash caused by mud on the road.

Campbell said: “The Government has set itself a target of significantly reducing the number of road traffic accidents by 2010 – reducing the amount of fuel spilt every day on Britain’s roads is one of the easiest ways of doing this.”