Road Traffic Accident

Passionate biker loses love for riding after serious road traffic accident in France

September 19, 2023
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The Incident

Our client, a railway service engineer, was on a motorbiking holiday across Europe with his friend. At the time of the accident, he was a passionate biker and owned three motorbikes; using them for commuting and for fun.

The accident happened when our client was riding through France. He was filtering past a line of slow-moving traffic when, without warning, a vehicle pulled out from the line of traffic into collision with our client.

As a result of the accident, our client sustained serious injuries including multiple spinal fractures, osteochondral injury to the left ankle, a fractured collarbone and significant psychological injury, in the form of PTSD.

He lost his passion for riding, and generally became less active, and more prone to low mood as a result of the accident and the ongoing pain he had, especially from his back and ankle injuries.

The Case

Even though the accident happened in France, and the Defendant (and their insurer) were French, the Claimant was able to bring his claim in the English Court, but French law applied to it and would determine how much compensation the Claimant would receive.

In order to assist us navigate French law, we instructed an expert French lawyer to act as an expert witness in the case.

An important issue in the case was that there were certain losses that the Claimant might, depending on how much his condition worsened in the future, be able to claim but which, because of the way French law operates, he was unable to claim at the time we came to try and settle the case.

However French law allows a Claimant to return and bring a new case in the event further complications develop in future. This is not an option in English law, except in very limited circumstances.

The Case Outcome

When settling the case, we ensured the settlement agreement included an express provision to enable the Claimant to enforce this ‘right to return’ – known in French as an “action en cas d’aggravation” – so that, if the worst happens he will be able to seek additional compensation.

This gave the Claimant piece of mind, and allowed us to then focus on securing the maximum possible award for him. The claim then settled, at a joint settlement meeting between the parties for in excess of £200,000.

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