This information is provided by Stephen Hattersley, of WildWood Legal, a firm of solicitors specialising in claims for injured scooterists. Stephen, a qualified solicitor for 25 years, has been riding scooters for more than 30 years and has acted for injured riders across the UK. He knows the tricks and pitfalls that insurers use and pulls no punches in his dealings with them. He rides to work every day and understands the challenges you face out there.
Q. My solicitor handling my claim is arranging for me to see a medical specialist in connection with my injuries. He has said that this is likely to take place remotely via Zoom. Is that normal? How will the expert be able to examine me properly?
A. The world has changed in many ways post-Covid and this is one of them. Obviously at the height of the pandemic, medical experts couldn’t see patients in person but needed to find a way to keep matters moving. Hence, remote appointments started to happen and have continued to do so. Experts are getting pretty good at this now and in a lot of cases (not all), this can be an entirely appropriate way for a medical examination to take place. Often, the examination is less important than what is in the medical records, which the expert should have in front of them. So, yes, it is now becoming more and more normal and experts are getting better and better at adapting to this means of examination.
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Q. I had an accident a couple of year ago. My solicitors sent me to see a medical expert who said I should recover within a year but I’m still struggling now. My solicitor is telling me I should accept the insurer’s offer of £3500 but I don’t think that’s fair. What can I do?
A. You can change solicitors for starters. We see this a lot – people go to the firms ‘recommended’ to them by their insurers and then a year or two down the line, they are utterly fed up with the service they are getting from them. These firms are normally just processing centres and their main priority is normally just to get claims settled and off their desks. If you are still having symptoms after the date that the expert suggested these would end, you should INSIST upon being seen again by the expert so that a proper prognosis can be given. If not, you will be guaranteed to settle your case at less than it is worth. If the solicitors won’t agree to this, speak to another firm about transferring your file.
Q. I bought a Vespa to restore off eBay last year. It all seemed legitimate at the time. I’ve since found out it was actually a stolen scoot. The previous owner’s insurers have written to me saying the bike is now theirs as they paid out on it. I have tried contacting the guy I bought it from but he has vanished. What can I do?
A. That’s a horrible situation to be in – you have my sympathy. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any good news. The scooter wasn’t the eBay guy’s to sell and that means that although you were effectively an innocent purchaser, you have no legal ownership of it. The law is on the side of the original owner. His insurers have obviously paid out to him when it was stolen and it is now legally theirs. Your only possible remedy is to bring a claim against the Ebay seller but I’m guessing he is long gone. It’s easy to say this with hindsight but with any private purchase of a scooter, you should always do as much digging as you possibly can to satisfy yourself that the scooter and the seller are legit. In the case of the seller themselves, don’t be shy about asking for proof of their identity in the form of a driving licence and a utility bill. An honest seller should have no problem in providing these.
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