WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

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Chambers and Partners (2014)

Six Figure Motorcycle Accident Claim

Our client was involved in a road traffic accident in France on the 13th of August 2008. Mr Taylor was in a line of 5-6 bikers when the accident happened. They were all friends driving towards St Brieuc to celebrate Mr Taylor’s birthday.

Our client was driving a motorbike on a straight road in Brittany, when all of a sudden two vehicles coming from the opposite carriageway cut across his path. One of his friends, on a motorbike before him managed to avoid the first vehicle and carried on. Mr Taylor tried to avoid it but was caught by the second vehicle which seemed to be following the first one. The impact happened on the centre line separating both carriageways.

As a result of the impact, Mr Taylor was knocked of his bike and ended up in a ditch some hundreds yards from the point of impact. He remained there until the police and ambulance came.

At the time, the police took some of the statements from the witnesses but by the time the police and ambulance had arrived the owner of the first vehicle had disappeared and no one had taken his details. It was assumed that both drivers of the cars knew each other, which was denied by the third party.

Although witness statements were obtained from the English bikers, it was difficult to prove that another vehicle might have been implicated in the accident and liability remained in dispute. After difficult negotiations, our client agreed on a shared liability of 80/20 in his favour.

As a result of the accident, Mr Taylor suffered from a severe open fracture of the left upper tibia and knee with major skin, muscle, tendon and ligament damage. He had also suffered from contusions on his upper and lower limbs and thorax and thoracic contusion with rib fracture.

Mr Taylor was transferred to the local hospital where it was initially thought he would have to be amputated of his left leg. He had surgery to repair the bones on his left leg: with partial reconstruction of this tibia and fixations on the tibia and femur and reconstruction of the knee joint.

Upon his return home, in Jersey, he was referred to a local surgeon and later to London to have a total of 11 surgeries including bone re-grafting, removal and replacement of fixations (screws and plates), reconstruction of the ligaments, removal of dead tissue and skin graft.

Mr Taylor is now left with an unstable knee but is happy that he did not lose his leg. He is slowly trying to rebuild his muscles to strengthen his leg. He knows he will have to have further surgery (total knee replacement) in the future.

As a result of the accident, he required help and assistance from friends over a long period of time and is thankful for all the assistance he has received and for the very close knit community in Jersey. This has also helped him get over the trauma of the accident and his slow recovery.

The accident has had a major impact on his employment. At the time, he had left one job and was due to start another one, a few weeks after the accident. Although he did start his new job, his lack of mobility meant that he could not meet his clients as often as he would have liked and that this had such an impact on his job that he had to find another position. Since the accident, due to the ongoing treatment and his poor mobility, Mr Taylor has changed employment 4 times. He has now found a position in which he hopes he will be able to progress.

His claim has been estimated at €420,000 including loss of earnings and his medical insurers claim.

His personal injury claim has been estimated around €100,000.

In France, once a claim has been settled and later, the victim suffers from an aggravation of his/her condition, it is possible to reopen the case and consider the symptoms and possibly need for further surgery.

Mr Taylor has therefore been advised that should his condition deteriorate in the future and this is directly linked to the accident, he might be in a position to claim further compensation for the costs of further surgery and treatment as well as pain and suffering.

We hope to settle the claim within the next 3-6 months.

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"I just wanted to send you a short note to thank you very much indeed to our solicitor for managing to settle this for me – it’s really very much appreciated. You did so in a very professional, helpful and efficient manner."

Stephen, London 

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