I have legal protection insurance do I need to use it?

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1 Background Having a motorcycle accident is traumatic and can often entail substantial damage to your beloved motorcycle and serious injuries. If the accident was caused or contributed to by the bad driving of another road user then the law allows you to claim any loss you have incurred and compensation for your injuries. This will be a claim against the other driver s insurance company whose aim will be to pay you out as little as possible or to defeat your claim entirely by using well paid and experienced lawyers. There are essential things you must know about how accident claims work before you take any steps by ringing either the other party s or your own insurance company. I ve been told I must ring my insurance company, is this right? If the accident is clearly and entirely your fault and you wish to claim under your fully comprehensive policy or you have caused damage to another person then you should contact your insurers at the earliest opportunity giving them full information. If however you believe that another party was to blame for your accident you must take good independent legal advice first. The reason for this is that once you ring your insurance company they will do all they can to either use a referral system to make some money out of your claim or to reduce the amount of compensation that they will pay you. So take legal advice before you make that call or you may lose out. I have legal protection insurance do I need to use it? Insurance companies often add on legal protection insurance on to your policy either for a small charge or it is included in the premium. In the past insurance companies used this as a way of obtaining your details following an accident and selling those details on to a solicitor on their panel. Insurance companies made millions of pounds from this practice which was made illegal in April If your case is minor and you are happy to be looked after by an insurance company claims

2 department then you may consider allowing the insurers to look after you. If your claim is more serious and involves substantial damage to your motorcycle and an injury and possibly loss of earnings then you should consider obtaining your own expert representation so all these aspects of your claim can be fully considered on a personal basis. Do I need a claims company to help me? The straight answer is no! All a claims company can do is pass on your details to solicitors for a fee or for a financial arrangement. A claims company cannot represent you at court and they are not experts. Claims companies may also take money from your claim and give you little if anything in return. I ve heard of no win no fee, is this good? Despite the press saying differently a no win no fee system is a good system whereby you can take a legal action with no risk of paying legal costs. The correct term for this is a Conditional Fee Agreement where your solicitor will act on your behalf and will only be paid upon condition that the case is won. When the case is won costs will be recovered mainly from the other party but due to recent changes from April 2013 up to 25% of certain aspects of your claim may go towards your legal costs. I feel bad about claiming We understand that people who quite often have been seriously injured are reluctant to make a claim because of recent media reports about fraudulent accident claims and Crash for Cash scams. These stories that appear in the press are put out by enormous insurance companies with vast public relations departments in order to reduce the amount of claims they face. Do not let this affect your thoughts. If you have been injured by the negligence of another person it is your legal right to claim. Can I choose my own solicitor? Many insurance companies will insist upon you using a solicitor chosen by them. This is wrong and has been ruled unlawful by the European Courts. You have a right to choose your own lawyer and not one that may cut the level of their service to you because they have a financial arrangement with an insurance company. Choose your own expert.

3 The accident may have been my fault should I still claim? As expert motorcycle accident lawyers we have lost count of the times that we have won cases where clients believe they were at fault. Quite often bike riders are filtering when vehicles emerge through traffic and cause accidents. These cases are difficult and require expert legal skill. It will cost you nothing to find out if you have a case so even where you believe the accident may have been your fault it is still worthwhile making that call because you may even win a percentage of your case which could be valuable. How long have I got to claim? In general terms you will have three years from the date of your motorcycle accident or, if you are under 18 at the time of the accident you will have until your 21 st birthday in which to issue court proceedings. You should remember however that evidence can disappear over time and therefore it is essential that you take action quickly so that witnesses can be traced and photographs taken that may help prove your case. What can I claim? Special Damages Firstly you can claim any financial loss that you have suffered in the accident. This will involve a claim for any damage to your motorcycle and we will arrange an expert engineer to provide a report on your damaged bike. Damaged clothing, medical expenses, loss of earnings and any other financial loss will also be recovered and we will discuss all aspects of your financial claim with you. General Damages If you have been injured in the accident you will also be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Quite often in motorcycle accidents these injuries can be catastrophic and we will arrange for you to undergo examinations by appropriate medical experts and we will obtain full reports on your injuries. These reports will allow us to advise you as to how much compensation you should recover in your case.

4 Will I have to go to court? Nearly all cases settle through negotiations between us as your lawyers and the insurance company of the driver who was to blame. Very rarely do cases go to a full court trial but if this is necessary we will make the court process as clear and easy as possible for you. We are experienced lawyers and regularly appear in court to protect our client s rights. I have been seriously injured and may not be able to work again, can you help? As motorcycle accident specialists we are used to dealing with riders who have sustained catastrophic and life changing injuries. In such cases we will arrange home and hospital visits and will arrange rehabilitation so that your daily personal needs can be met during your recovery. In the most catastrophic cases this will include provision of nursing care, private medical treatment and even new adapted properties. My bike is a classic but it may be written off We understand that classic bikes are cherished. You may need to make a decision as to whether you want to present your claim for your damaged bike to your insurance company or, via ourselves, to the other party s insurance company. This can make a big difference as to whether you are able to retain your damaged bike and whether you can get full value from the adaptations or custom paint jobs. We will help you decide on the best way to recover your losses for damage to your motorcycle. My partner has taken time off to look after me Part of your claim can include the care and services provided to you by a partner or friend or family member. You should keep a diary of the tasks they are performing for you and how long this takes as this can form part of your claim. We will discuss this with you fully. What about my no claims bonus? If the accident is not your fault and you recover your losses in full from the other party this will be reported to your insurance company and your no claims position will be reinstated. Even if it turns

5 out that a percentage of the accident is your fault and therefore a claim is made on your insurance recover in your claim even for a percentage. If you are worried about the effect on your insurance please take our advice and we can help you. What should I do now? If you want to appoint your own expert lawyer and have all aspects of your motorcycle claim fully considered then please contact us for a free initial consultation. Remember that if we take on your case this will mean we have looked at the circumstances and are satisfied that you have a good case and we will act on your behalf on a no win no fee basis. We will fund all your fees for medical expenses and court fees. Our aim is to look after you so well that if any of your friends or family are unfortunate enough to have an accident you will recommend us to them. Simply give us a call on. You won t be committing to anything and we re confident you will be glad you just took a moment to get in touch.

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