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Title: Will my riding style affect my claim?

Date: 13 August 2015

Question

I am hoping you can help me with my legal case that’s been going on since April when I had a minor collision with an agricultural vehicle, not quite a tractor but I don’t know the proper name for it. My bike was damaged with repairs costing £900 and I was ok other than a sprained thumb, minor whiplash and bruising. My leathers were also damaged. The accident happened when the vehicle turned right across me while I was overtaking at a slow speed. He was entering a field, the entrance I was unaware of. His insurer (National Farmers Union) is stating that because a witness said I was riding erratically 5 minutes before hand I was riding “reckless as to my own safety” and I am to blame for the accident. I think this is unfair as although I was having some fun on the lanes I don’t think it had anything to do with the accident with the farmer. Can you help?

Paul Jameson, Barnsley

Answer

I really need to see what the witness is saying and whether the alleged manner of your driving can be closely linked in time with your accident. You admit to having fun on the lanes and it may be that a judge would infer from this that you were riding over enthusiastically. It does depend what you mean by having fun though. It would also be helpful to see what the police report states if there is one available. If your riding was substandard 5 minutes before the accident but for the next 5 minutes until and at the point of the accident you were riding carefully and non-negligently then the previous “episode” could be ignored. However, as I have said, a judge may find your manner of driving did have a bearing on the accident circumstances. You need to argue that the two events were completely separate and that the cause of this accident was the farmer’s negligence in failing to indicate if this was the case and failing to spot you in his mirrors or over his shoulder. To give a proper opinion I need more information/documentation.

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