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Title: Expert evidence is crucial

Date: 19 December 2012

Question

I had an accident when overtaking on my way to work. The driver who hit me said I was going well above the speed limit and was riding erratically.  He said he was slowly attempting to turn right and was indicating.  I can’t remember the accident but there are witnesses. Some of them say I was speeding while others say I was not and some of them say the other driver was indicating and turning appropriately while others say that he pulled out fairly sharply.  My solicitors are considering dropping my claim.  I have been riding for some 20 years and this is the first accident I have ever had.  Just because I can’t remember the accident does that mean I should take the blame for it?

David, Rhondda

Answer

Considering liability, or who is to blame for the accident, the majority of cases turn on the witness evidence of the parties involved in the accident.  If you are unable to remember the accident it will cause some difficulties but that does not mean you will not potentially be able recover any compensation. There appears to be some discrepancies between the witness evidence and this evidence needs to be considered carefully.  Speed is always a difficult thing for witnesses to measure and courts invariably take witnesses accounts on speed very cautiously.  What your solicitor should have done, and it is unclear from your query whether he has or not, is seek to obtain evidence from an accident reconstruction expert.  This expert will consider all the witnesses statements, the damage to the vehicles and the accident scene in order to try and accurately determine what speed you and the other driver was traveling at, for how long you would have been visible to the turning vehicle while you were overtaking and the expert will then try and recreate the accident as best he can.  In an accident such as yours there is likely to be some blame apportioned to you because courts tend to look rather despondently on motorcyclists overtaking near junctions.  It is likely, therefore, that any evidence from an expert reconstruction expert is going to be critical.

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