Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

You may remember that Lieutenant Colonel T.E. Lawrence – better known as “Lawrence of Arabia” – was one of Britain’s leading military officers during the Great War. What you may not know is that he was an avid motorcyclist – and that his love for motorcycles ultimately led to his untimely demise in 1935 at the relatively young age of 46 – less than two months after retiring from the Royal Air Force.

The law of torts as it is applied to road accidents had not been fully defined at the time, nor did the colonel have a family who might have filed a posthumous motorcycle accident claim on his behalf, either against the families of the two boys on push bikes whom he swerved to avoid or those responsible for the maintenance of the road (actually, under the specific circumstances of Lawrence’s fatal accident, it is doubtful that anyone would have been found liable). The tragedy did however lead to the widespread use of crash helmets that have saved thousands of motorcyclists since.

The use of crash helmets by motorcyclists is now mandatory in most countries, including the U.K. Nonetheless, even if you are wise enough to wear heavy leather clothing in addition to a crash helmet, you are far more vulnerable on a motorcycle than in an automobile when out on the streets or the motorway. It is indeed unfortunate that motorcyclists are not easily seen by drivers of automobiles, who nonetheless have a duty of care toward fellow motorists – including those on motorcycles.

A study in the U.S. showed that contrary to common perception, the majority of motorcycle accidents involving an automobile are due to negligence on the part of the operator of the automobile. The legal principle established by Lord Colin Blackburn in the 19th Century, who stated that “…those who go personally or bring property where they know that they or it may come into collision with the persons or property of others have by law a duty cast upon them to use reasonable care and skill to avoid such a collision,” is particularly applicable when you file a motorcycle accident claim.

It is unfortunate that the prohibitive cost of a solicitor’s services prevents many from filing a road accident claim. However, more and more solicitors here and in the U.S. (where such legal professionals are called “litigators”) are accepting cases on a contingency basis, meaning that you need not pay a fee in advance – and will pay the solicitor’s fee only if s/he is able to argue your motorcycle accident claim successfully, in which case s/he will receive a portion (generally between 20 and 30 percent) of your monetary award.