Motorcyclist receives £30,000 settlement after spilt engine oil causes accident

27th November 2019

Fletchers Solicitor’s Serious Injury Solicitor, Neil Downey settled a case for £30,000 after an oil slick left by a defective bus caused a motorcycle accident.

Summary of RTA incident

Mr Saunders, 69 from Norfolk was travelling along the A140 Road, towards the village of Newton Flotman.

The Defendant’s vehicle, a bus which had been travelling in the opposite direction, was parked in a layby as a result of engine failure.

Unknown to Mr Saunders, the bus had broken down due to engine failure and caused an oil spillage on the surface of the road.  

Prior to the incident there were several slower moving vehicles ahead of Mr Saunders.

When it was safe to do so, he overtook them as there were no oncoming vehicles and the lane of traffic was clear.

However, in doing so Mr Saunders met a deposit of oil on the road surface left by the Defendant’s vehicle.

There was no warning of the oil spillage and the Defendant had not tried to notify road users of the engine failure. 

As a result, Mr Saunders lost control of his vehicle resulting in injury.

Situated in the Norfolk countryside, Newton Flotman is eight miles south of Norwich
Injuries sustained from road traffic accident
  • Right Clavicle Fracture
  • Laceration to the left leg requiring a skin graft
  • Multiple rib fractures
  • Head injury resulting in an increased risk of seizures
  • Right sided Pneumothorax

Mr Saunders sustained a displaced right clavicle fracture which went onto a state of malunion.

It was anticipated by the Orthopaedic expert that Mr Saunders would achieve the maximum level of his recovery within two years of the collision.

X-ray showing right clavicle fracture

Mr Saunders’ recovery left him with some residual restriction of the movement of the upper limb, which will be a permanent consequence of the accident.

Mr Saunders also suffered a period of memory loss as a result of the collision.

As a result, Fletchers arranged for Mr Saunders to undergo a neurological assessment. The results confirmed that as well as the head injury, for a period of five years following this collision, Mr Saunders would be at an increased risk of the development of seizures.  

Fletchers also arranged for Mr Saunders to undergo an assessment with a cardio-thoracic surgeon. This was primarily to assess the pneumothorax and consequences of the collapsed lung suffered.

Thankfully, the cardio-thoracic surgeon confirmed that Mr Saunders had gone onto a good level of recovery. Furthermore, he was not expected to suffer any degenerative effects of the injuries.

Key decisions within the settlement

Mr Saunders decided to take legal action against the owner and operator of the bus.

On reflection the case was a lengthy process. The Defendant refused to accept any responsibility for the collision and sought to hold Mr Saunders at fault for losing control of his motorcycle.

The Defendant also failed to co-operate for much of the case, requesting the intervention of the Court on several occasions.  

However, Neil’s case argued that the accident was the result of the Defendant’s ineffective maintenance of the bus. Furthermore, it was made apparent that the bus had a longstanding history of oil leaks which were continually, but insufficiently, rectified by the Defendant’s maintenance engineers.

The maintenance records for the Defendant’s vehicle proved valuable evidence.

Neil told us:

This case resulted from the Defendant, a bus operator, having a system of vehicle and maintenance checks which were insufficient.

Moreover, they alone allowed a vehicle to be on the road which was a danger to other road users.

The maintenance of the vehicle showed there was a longstanding history of oil leaks and defects.

Yet, despite knowing the issues, the Defendant’s own maintenance engineers allowed the vehicle to be on the road.

Mr Saunders suffered several injuries as a result of the Defendant’s negligence over a protracted period. Despite the Defendant’s reluctance to accept any responsibility for their own actions, with time and persistence we were able to reach a successful outcome to the case of Mr Saunders.

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