£2.5 million pay-out for motorcyclist following untraced rider’s negligence

An outstanding outcome for this extremely deserving client who was left with complete paraplegia following a fall from his motorcycle. The third-party motorcyclist left the scene, and left no evidence of who he was. This meant there was no insurance that our client could claim against.

Nevertheless, the Aspire Law Team’s investigation and subsequent application to the Motor Insurers Bureau was sufficient to secure a sizable award under the Untraced Drivers Agreement.

Matthew Claxson was assisted by Amanda Brown of Aspire Law and Edward Bishop KC of 1 Chancery Lane. Matthew was also assisted by leading medical and quantum expert witnesses.


The background

Our client was an experienced mature motorcyclist out for a trip on a fine dry day with a friend riding through the Exmoor National Park. This was a popular route for motorcyclists. There were a number of other motorbikes on the same road. Sadly, along the route our client had to take emergency evasive action as a third-party motorcyclist ahead braked unexpectedly without warning. This caused our client to miss a bend in the road. As a consequence, our client left the carriageway and fell into a ditch. The third-party rider was either unaware or unconcerned for our client as he failed to stop and simply carried on his way. Witnesses were unable to provide any details of the third-party motorcyclist, although they did corroborate our client’s witness evidence of being forced to brake unexpectedly.



The police attended the scene but arrived after our client had been taken to hospital by ambulance. Witnesses had also dispersed. Without evidence of any third-party involvement the police treated this as a single vehicle incident and didn’t investigate.


As an untraced driver, our client thought he had no route to compensation. He contacted Aspire Law for advice. We confirmed locating a road traffic insurer was unlikely but explained the option of making a claim to the Motor Insurers Bureau under the Untraced Drivers Agreement. In any application to the MIB, we would have to show that this was a case of an untraced driver and that the untraced driver had been negligent and caused our client’s injury.


Litigation process

Being an MIB claim, the process is dictated by the Untraced Drivers Agreement with strict obligations and timelines. Whilst not unlike the civil procedure/process, there are a number of key differences that require careful attention to detail.

After gathering the available evidence, an application was made to the MIB setting out the grounds for the claim. Sadly, the initial application was rejected by the MIB, who rejected our client’s version of events and said there was no evidence that the untraced driver was negligent and/or his negligence caused the collision.

Unhappy with this outcome, Aspire Law appealed the MIB’s decision. In the appeal it was noted that the MIB had wrongly rejected our client’s version of events, which were confirmed by two witnesses, and wrongly concluded there was no evidence that the untraced driver had been negligent – referring to numerous authorities where braking suddenly for no reason can both be negligent and a negligent cause of a subsequent road traffic collision.

The appeal was successful with a finding of 1/3 contributory negligence on part of our client. After consultation with counsel our client was content to accept the decision. Subsequently the MIB agreed to deal with the claim.


Difficulties following Injury

On discharge from hospital our client returned home to a terrace property with stairs. Our client had to make do and created a downstairs bedroom in the living room. Social services installed an outside ramp and helped adapt a downstairs WC. Despite these hardships our client remained up beat and continued with his plans to marry his fiancé some months later.

As the MIB process is slow (especially given the need for an appeal in this case), our client had to endure a lot of hardship with little in the way of money, minimal equipment and only statutory benefits and social services for support. This was a particularly challenging time for both our client and his fiancé given their uncertain futures.


Developments during the claim

Following the successful appeal, the outlook for our client changed dramatically as he was now able to receive interim payments and access the equipment and services he required. Eventually, following settlement, our client moved to a suitable house, which was fully wheelchair accessible where he would live with his new wife.



After the appeal, Aspire Law embarked on a comprehensive quantum exploration with the assistance of leading spinal cord injury expert witnesses. The experts reviewed all the available medical evidence and visited our client to speak with him in detail about his spinal cord injury and the impact this was having on his life. The experts then each produced a report, which set out in detail our client’s needs both then and into the future, which were fully costed.

After the reports were completed, Aspire Law drafted a schedule of loss summarising all the heads of claim, which was sent to the MIB along with the expert reports. The MIB then considered the same before making a money offer based on the evidence provided and the MIB’s own expert evidence.



The initial offer by the MIB was rejected and a revised valuation sought. After further discussions with the MIB (to narrow the issues), a revised offer was received from the MIB. The offer was £2.5 million. This offer could either be accepted by our client or the MIB could move to a formal award, which would need to be either accepted or appealed. The latter would incur more time and require further expert evidence. There was also no guarantee that the formal offer would be as much as £2.5 million. After discussions with Aspire Law, our client decided to accept the offer.



The MIB is the mechanism in the UK through which compensation is provided for victims of accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers. It has its own processes and requires a skilled practitioner to navigate the system and ensure the best outcome. In this case our client, who thought he had no recourse to any compensation, was provided with enough money to ensure his and his family’s futures for the rest of their lives.


Matthew Claxson, Senior Solicitor said:

“This case demonstrates why in every case of a road crash legal advice should be taken. This client thought he had no claim but after instructing Aspire Law he ended up with a multimillion pound settlement.”


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