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Title: Spill made me crash - can I claim?

Date: 04 August 2015

I’ve just binned by machine on a country lane! I hit some liquid on the road and the back wheel slid out from underneath me. My bike looks like it is a write-off and as I only have third party insurance I’ve just been told that I’m not covered. As you can imagine, I’m pretty angry. Is there any way that I can claim from the council or the local farmers?

DC
Shropshire

What you have described is unfortunately not uncommon however your ability to pursue a claim, against whom, will very much depend upon identifying the liquid that caused you to lose control of your bike.

If the fluid was deposited due to the negligence of an unidentified road user, for example diesel spilled from an overfilled fuel tank on a lorry or tractor, then you will be able bring a claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau, who are responsible for compensating victims of road traffic accident caused by the negligence of an untraced road user. There are however some very specific reporting requirements that must be met in order to pursue a claim and they will only pay compensation for property damage if the accident caused an injury which required 4 nights or more hospitalisation in the first 30 days following the accident. If there was no personal injury then you cannot pursue the MIB and there will be no claim. If, on the other hand, you have reason to believe that the liquid was caused by a specific road user e.g. the local farmer who’s tracked wet mud onto the road, you will be able to bring a claim against that person for property damage, personal injury or both.

If the fluid was not caused by another road user you may be able to pursue a claim against your local highway authority or council but this will very much depend upon the nature of the spill and what if any notice they had of the existence of the spill.

In instances such as yours the most important step is to gather as much evidence as possible so that if you speak to a specialist solicitor they will be able to advise you on your potential claim in more detail.

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