RTA Law

Lee and his son thrown from the motorcycle

On the 29th of July 2021, Lee was riding with four other motorcyclists on their annual tour of the Scottish Highlands. Lee’s son was riding pillion on his motorcycle. As the group rode into Nairn, they encountered stationary traffic and rightly made the decision to filter on the off-side. Travelling around 10mph and approaching a junction to the nearside, Lee spotted a stationary Transit van sitting at the junction. Two of the motorcyclists had already passed the junction, so Lee was satisfied that he had been seen and continued as, after all, the van had remained stationary. Just as he approached, carrying out a slow filter manoeuvre, the van driver pulled out through the traffic to turn right.

Lee and his son were thrown from the motorcycle and sustained injuries. After the incident, Lee contacted his insurers to arrange for repairs to his motorcycle. He also accepted an offer to appoint a panel solicitor for him and his son to recover compensation for their injuries. Lee was then contacted by a panel firm of solicitors from Glasgow. That panel solicitor agreed to take on both his and his son’s case.

Changing Solicitors

Conflict of Interest on the part of the panel Solicitor

DouglasOn intimation of the claim, the van driver’s insurance company disputed liability, maintaining the crash had been Lee’s fault. This created a clear conflict of interest as the same solicitor was acting for both rider and pillion. The Law Society of Scotland has clear rules on conflict and if conflict is raised, a solicitor is obliged to ensure separate representation. Lee’s panel solicitor told Lee to delay his own right to justice whilst they progressed his son’s case against the van driver.

Forced into a situation of sitting back and doing nothing, Lee returned to his insurer and complained. He was then appointed a second panel solicitor but to Lee’s dismay, that solicitor didn’t seem to understand the case at all, and Lee felt he was simply part of an assembly line approach.

Motorcycle Law Scotland to the rescue

At his wit’s end, he contacted us at Motorcycle Law Scotland.

With liability denied, we got to work and prepared Lee’s case meticulously. We uncovered witness evidence that the van driver had been looking left on exit and hadn’t checked to his right. In other words, the driver had to bear the brunt of responsibility for the crash. We raised a court action for Lee and didn’t sit back. As motorcyclists, we understand filtering. It is mentioned in the Highway Code. We know how to present evidence of fault to the Court. The case was just one month away from a final hearing, when the defenders caved in and settled.

Motorcycling Injuries

Happy ending?

Not quite. Denied a fee, the first panel solicitor chased Lee for full payment of fees incurred during the time he had been their client. This was against a background of telling Lee to sit back and being conflicted. They even went so far as to raise an action for payment for their fees against Lee. Furious, we defended that case and as soon as our defences were received, the first panel solicitor backed down and abandoned their court action.

No Win, No Fee

Beware of pitfalls

There are so many potential pitfalls in road traffic claims, and they usually begin if you allow someone else to appoint your solicitor. When choosing a tradesman to do work on your house, you shop around, take recommendations from friends, find someone you know will do a good job and ultimately you will get value for money. If you’re ever involved in an accident and you are broken then similarly, you need someone you can trust who will always put you first. There is nobody better placed to know what you need from your lawyer than you. Don’t let an insurer appoint a lawyer for you. Remember it’s your choice.

Lee’s story did end well but imagine a panel solicitor, conflicted and unable to progress your claim, then has the audacity to not only chase you for fees but raise an action in Court against you. That shows where their priority lay, and it certainly wasn’t with their client as far as Lee was concerned. He was sucked in and then spat out. All they cared about was a fee.

Our Award Winning Team

Brenda Mitchell - Senior Partner

Brenda Mitchell

Senior Partner

Brenda has been a Personal Injury Lawyer for over 35 years and for the last 20 years has specialised representing injured motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.



Jodi Gordon - Partner

Jodi Gordon

Partner

Jodi has predominantly represented cyclists involved in road traffic collisions and specialises in assisting those who have suffered very serious and complex injury.

Thomas Mitchell - Associate

Thomas Mitchell

Partner

Thomas represents clients who have been involved in road traffic incidents and he specialises in representing vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

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