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Groundbreaking cases

Andrew Campbell dealt with the following important cases which have extended the availability of compensation to other bikers.

Bikelawyer wins important high court liability trial for biker seriously injured by hamburger van owner - March 2017

The court held section 145(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1998 was engaged when the owner of a hamburger van walked into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist after stepping into the road when displaying a sign for the business. The accident was closely linked to 'using the van on the road' as a hamburger van.

The Facts

Mr Woodward owned a hamburger van which he parked in a layby and traded from on a regular basis. After adjusting his business sign, which was placed on the opposite side of the road, he stepped out into the road in order to cross back over to his van and collided with the Claimant.

The Claimant was travelling at 50mph on his motorcycle. Mr Woodward was unable to see the Claimant as the Claimant was behind a passing car. No blame was attached to the Claimant.

Mr Woodward was killed immediately and the Claimant was badly injured.

Mr Woodward and his estate did not have any funds nor did he have public liability insurance. Accordingly the Claimant wished to bring a claim against the Second Defendant with whom Mr Woodward had motor insurance.

Section 145(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1998 provides that compulsory motor insurance must insure the drivers named in the policy in respect of death or personal injury "caused by, or arising out of, the use of the vehicle on a road or other public place".

The court was asked to consider a preliminary issue, that being, did the accident arise out of the use of a vehicle on the road?

The Law

In Dunthorne v Bentley & Another [1998] RTR 428 the same question arose. The driver's vehicle had run out of petrol and had come to a standstill at the side of the road. As the driver ran across the road to speak with a colleague and obtain petrol, she collided with a passing car. The court held section 145(3) was engaged as the purpose of the driver to cross the road was to receive help and petrol which would have enabled her to continue her journey in her motor vehicle.

The case established a list of principles for courts to consider when faced with this question, including the term 'arising out of' includes a result that carries a consequence and that the purpose of the user of the motor vehicle is relevant.

The commonwealth case of Government Insurance Office (NSW) v RJ Green & Lloyd Pty Ltd [1966] HCA 6 has been very influential in this area. Here the court said the nature of the particular vehicle must be considered in every case. This approach was affirmed in Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav DD [2015] CJEU 142 where the court held that "use of vehicles" in article 3(1) of the First Motor Insurance Directive 72/166/EEC meant "any use of a vehicle that is consistent with the normal function of that vehicle".

The Decision

The Claimant submitted this case was directly akin to Dunthorne as Mr Woodward had adjusted the business sign and was crossing back over the road to continue to use his hamburger van to produce and sell hamburgers.

Counsel for the Second Defendant submitted the motor vehicle was not being used as such and instead was being used as a stationary hamburger van with the purpose of selling burgers to passers-by. Furthermore the activity of placing and adjusting a business sign was a self-contained activity.

The Court held the arguments were finely balanced, but resolved the preliminary issue in favour of the Claimant. The relevant question to determine is what is the relevant use of the vehicle on the road and then ask whether the accident arose out of that use.

Here the relevant use of the vehicle was as a hamburger van, and the act of adjusting a sign to help produce sales of hamburgers and the subsequent collision with the Claimant was closely linked to the relevant use.

Bikelawyer gets UK’s largest ever CRPS settlement £1.9 million.

Bikelawyer has settled the largest ever case of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) at a full liability value of £1.9 million. Bikelawyer’s Andrew Campbell acted for Nerys Pearce, a motorcyclist injured 5 years ago and who is now wheelchair reliant.  September 2013

Fatal hit and run claim settles for over £1 million compensation

Bikelawyer acted for the widow of a biker killed when he lost control of his bike when a driver swerved into his path then fled the scene. The claim submitted to the Motor Insurers' Bureau settled at over £1 million in compensation, one of the largest untraced driver accident claims to date.

Fatal diesel spill accident

The family of a motorcyclist who was killed after he rode over a diesel slick have been awarded £110,000 in compensation.

Richard Cooper had been riding his Yamaha in Lincolnshire in March 2006 when he went over the diesel spill. He subsequently lost control of his vehicle and collided with a transit van travelling towards him.

The payout is thought to be the first time that such a claim has been accepted by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

Commenting on the compensation, Mr Cooper's son Richard said: "We are extremely pleased that our claim has been successful and hope that it will now open doors for other families who have lost loved ones under similar circumstances."

Diesel spills are causing an increasing number of accidents on the country's roads and they can easily be prevented, he added.

Our News page contains the article that appeard in The Times newspaper.

Established in 1946, the MIB compensates the victims of negligent, uninsured and untraced motorists.

Andrew Campbell has acted for many dozens of bikers injured in diesel spill accidents. This was the first fatal accident case involving diesel to be submitted to the MIB and to be accepted. This case was reported in The Times.

Biker wins CICA claim for "chicken" boy fatal accident

A motorcyclist who killed a schoolboy playing a game of "chicken" on a busy road made legal history when he won a claim for compensation for the injuries that he suffered in the accident.

Antony Young, 37, lodged his claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, which usually pays money only to victims of violent crime.

His lawyer, Andrew Campbell, argued that the boy, Robert Davis, 12, was guilty of a violent act by deliberately running out into the road.

Mr Young suffered six broken ribs, a punctured lung, a bruised heart, a serious shoulder injury and continuing psychological trauma.

The amount of compensation will be decided once Mr Young’s medical reports have been submitted by independent experts and the long-term impact of his injuries has been assessed. The authority could now face other, similar claims.

Andrew Campbell, the lawyer who represented Mr Young, said: “This is a victory for justice, not only for Antony and his family, who have been through a terrible ordeal, but for others who may also have suffered physical or psychological trauma as a result of accidents which occurred through no fault of their own. This case is particularly tragic because a young boy died but it is important that recognition is also given to Antony’s suffering and the effect this accident has had, and continues to have, on his life.”

Mr Young was riding his Suzuki GSXR 1000 on the A4174 dual carriageway in Longwell Green, near Bristol, when the accident happened on April 8 last year.

A group of boys had gathered under a footbridge and dared each other to run across the road. Robert Davis started to run as a van approached but failed to spot that it was being overtaken by the motorcycle. Mr Young, a site engineer, was unable to avoid colliding with the boy, and the bike hit him full in the chest. He died three days later at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Mr Young, who was travelling at less than 50mph in a 70mph zone, spent two weeks in hospital and was off work for three months. An inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death after witnesses described how the motorcyclist could not have done anything to avoid the collision. Brian Whitehouse, the coroner, was “completely satisfied that no blame whatsoever” could be attached to him.

Mr Young, from Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, was told by 6 law firms he approached before speaking to Andrew Campbell, that he could not pursue a claim for compensation. But Mr Campbell argued that Robert was reckless in his actions, because he knowingly took a risk which left Mr Young injured. He successfully claimed that Robert’s actions amounted to violence, and that Mr Young could be compensated as a victim of a violent crime.

After hearing the landmark decision, he said: “I am happy and relieved. I feel that justice has been served not just for me but for other bikers and car drivers who find themselves in a similar position through no fault of their own.”

The authority receives about 65,000 applications for compensation each year and pays out nearly £200 million annually to victims of violent crime.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority always welcomes applications from victims of crime who are eligible for compensation. Mr Young was a victim of reckless behaviour on the part of the young boy and therefore entitled to a payment.”

This case was reported in all major national newspapers. It highlights the importance of seeking advice from an expert lawyer as opposed to the 6 firms Mr Young approached prior to instructing Andrew Campbell. Some lateral thinking and application of the law has led to compensation for this gentleman and for other biker victims of recklessness in the future.

7 figure negligence claim against solicitors for failing to advise MIB application following motorcycle diesel spill accident

In a test case for solicitor's negligence Andrew Campbell acted for a biker, Mr Conti, at the time a law student, seriously injured (brain injury) in 1993 when he lost control of his motorcycle on a diesel spill on the north circular in London.

Mr Conti's solicitors appointed the Defendant law firm to act for him in his claim for personal injuries, Unfortunately the firm did not consider an application to the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) which can compensate for injuries caused by fuel spill accidents (a little known fact until this negligence case).

The case, Mark-Anthony Conti -v- Hugh James (a firm), went to a High Court trial in London on limitation in 2003, the Defendant arguing that Mr Conti was too late to bring the claim against them. Andrew Campbell, instructed by Conti, succeeded with the case. 

The Defendant then argued that it was not negligent as the claim stood no prospects of success even had it been submitted to the MIB within the 3 year time limit by the firm (it had not). Eventually, 3 days before a 8 day trial in 2006, a 7-figure settlement (including costs) was reached. 

Speaking of this landmark case, Campbell said: “This shows the importance of lawyers being up to speed in their areas of speciality. It was unfortunate that the Defendant chose to fight the case which, in my mind, was always going to succeed. Succeed it did with a very large bill to pay including a £105,000 insurance premium, one of the largest in the history of negligence cases." 

This test case has led to Andrew being instructed in multiple other solicitors negligence cases for failure to advise an MIB application following a diesel spill accident. He has won all of them. The effect of the case has been to highlight this area of compensation so that lawyers are now aware of the rights of injured motorists, the result being that hundreds of bikers per year are now receiving compensation as a result of diesel spill accidents - compensation they would not have received were it not for this victory.

Diesel Spill Accidents
Changing solicitors