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Title: Is my bike accident claim covered by insurance?

Date: 20 November 2013

Question

I had an accident on my 2006 BMW R1200 RT in March this year when a car pulled out from behind a give way line into me. He claims I was speeding but I was not – I think I was going about 25mph. He is claiming from me for the damage to his car blaming me entirely! As a result of the accident my left leg has nerve damage from the crush injury. My tibia and fibula were broken but they have healed so it is the nerve damage that is the continuing problem. I was not happy with my local firm of solicitors so I changed to another firm (next door to the first one!). I was always told I had legal cover and that it was paying for my claim. My new solicitors wrote to my old firm asking for details of the insurer and they were given the details. They then wrote to the insurer which is now claiming I never had insurance. This makes no sense as my previous solicitors started court proceedings saying the insurer would cover the costs! How do I sort this out?

Alex Davies, Torfaen

Answer

It is alarming to think that your solicitors started legal proceedings against a Defendant without any (or any adequate) insurance in place to cover the Defendant’s costs and your own disbursements (such as medical report fees, private surgery fees and court fees) in the event that your claim fails. Your new solicitor should press the old solicitor and the insurer for a full explanation of what has happened here. I hope this is not a case of the insurer selling the claim to the previous firm with the firm taking the risk of paying costs should the claim fail (known as a “ghost policy”) – making the insurance policy redundant and worthless. Whatever has happened it needs to be resolved and urgently.

If it is not resolved then your new solicitor should start making enquiries into obtaining “after the event” legal expenses insurance to cover you making clear to the old firm that they will be liable for the cost of the premium (which is no longer recoverable from the Defendant) or if they cannot get cover then perhaps an indemnity from the old firm that they will pay the Defendant’s costs and your expenses should your claim fail.

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