Matthew Claxson and Georgie Beckers from our serious injury team have successfully obtained a settlement for a client following the tragic death of their family member arising from a motorcycle collision.
We were instructed to pursue a claim on behalf of the Estate under The Law Reform [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act 1934 and on behalf of the Dependants further to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. A Grant of Probate was obtained by the Moore Barlow Probate Team for our client to enable the claim to be brought for the Estate.
The weather conditions and visibility were both good.
A motorcyclist was travelling in a southbound direction, in excess of the speed limit for the road. The front headlight of the motorcycle was not illuminated, and the rider was wearing dark clothing.
A driver in a motor car approaching in a northbound direction was not familiar with the road layout, having missed a previous turn. When the driver came to the next right turn, she failed to adequately pause to check for oncoming traffic. As a result, the car turned right across the traffic lane of the oncoming motorcycle causing a fatal collision.
The car driver denied responsibility for causing the collision, alleging that they had checked for oncoming traffic prior to commencing their turn and had not seen the motorcycle approaching.
Our investigation into the incident circumstances involved us obtaining copies of the extensive police material. This included the contemporaneous witness statement of the driver and the black box data in her vehicle for which her insurance company had insisted upon within the insurance policy. We then instructed an expert in Accident Reconstruction who analysed the material available which produced several interesting points.
Our expert first found that the black box data from the car showed the car had continued in one fluid movement to turn across the oncoming traffic lane. This was contrary to the driver’s police statement which stated she had stopped to check for oncoming traffic. Our expert also established from the police material that had the driver actually looked, the motorcycle was there to be seen. Whilst the motorcycle and the rider were not overtly illuminated, the motorcycle could be seen when contrasted with the light brown fencing which ran along a footpath adjacent to the road.
Notwithstanding liability dispute, an early interim payment was obtained for the family to reimburse the cost of the funeral and to pay the Statutory Bereavement Award to the surviving spouse.
As a result of the careful investigation into the incident circumstances, we were able to establish a case against the car driver on primary liability whereas the risk to our client was likely narrowed to one of contributory negligence and/or litigation risk.
This enabled us to collate a case on behalf of the Estate and Dependants, valuing the matter at seven figures. The car driver’s representatives engaged with us in negotiation whereby a sum of compensation was duly agreed and subsequently approved by the Court.
Reflection on the case
This case is a useful reminder that in all instances careful investigation with the best experts should be undertaken to establish the facts of what has occurred and the merits of the claim.
At Moore Barlow we have an experienced team of Solicitors who work with leading Barristers and experts to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.
If you have suffered a serious injury and/or bereavement as a result of a road crash then please contact our solicitors on 0800 157 7611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moore Barlow LLP is a legal panel member for RoadPeace who are the national charity for road crash victims. RoadPeace operate a pastoral care helpline 0845 4500 355.