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Road Traffic Accident

Settlement secured following fatal RTA

Written by Victoria Marsden, Director of Personal Injury


July 8, 2024

The Incident


Our client was riding his motorcycle on the M40 when the defendant indicated and began moving into our client’s lane when it was not safe to do so due to our client being in close proximity. In an attempt to avoid a collision, our client moved to into the third lane and as he was doing so, the defendant returned back into the third lane and collided with our client. This caused our client to come off his motorcycle which resulted in immediate death.


The Case


A claim was brought by the deceased’s mother, and Trainee Solicitor, Matthew Burke took on the case.


Evidence showed that the defendant’s vehicle’s collision avoidance system applied a steering torque to the right due to the presence of our client initially at the back of the vehicle. However, it was noted that the defendant continued this steering to return the vehicle into lane three.


The Police did not prosecute the defendant and advised that the collision appears to have been the result of a failure of human/machine interaction in conjunction with the riding style of our client.


The Third-Party Insurers denied liability throughout, and a 50/50 liability offer was made ahead of limitation (the deadline to make a legal claim) to provide some certainty to our client’s mother.


The offer was never responded to, and therefore, Court Proceedings were issued.


As the defence date drew closer, the defendant Solicitor made a without prejudice offer in the sum of £4,000.00. The effect of a without prejudice offer is that it means that if the matter proceeds to Court then the offer cannot be placed before a Judge at the final hearing.


Following the offer Matthew sought instructions from the client’s mother, who advised that she would like to counter on the basis of 50%. Following which, we submitted the counteroffer and this was accepted.



The Outcome


The claim eventually settled for just over £5,500. Whilst this was a good result for the client’s mother, the claim could have been brought to a close much sooner if the defendant had accepted our previous liability offer which the matter ultimately settled on the basis of.


Reflecting on the claim, Matthew said: “The client’s mother was a pleasure to work for and I admire her perseverance in what has been a long-drawn-out case.


As technology advances, our cars are now fitted with new safety features, and we are moving towards autonomous driving. However, it is clear that care needs to be taken with this and the driver should always be aware of their surroundings.


I wish her all the very best for the future.”


Following which our client’s mother said: “After the traumatic loss of my son in a road traffic accident in March 2021, I struggled to deal with the many legal and logistical problems that had to be dealt with, particularly after delays caused by COVID. My son’s motorcycle was completely destroyed in the accident and the insurance company passed the claim to Serious Injury Law, then known as Fletchers. Over the following three years they pursued the other party’s insurance company and subsequently their solicitors. They were blocked and delayed at every turn, but determination and perseverance eventually drew a response. Over three years since my son’s death, settlement was reached. Throughout the process, l felt l had support from the experts in this field”