Can my wife sue me?


Q. I was out riding with my other half on the back of my Bandit 1200 when I cocked up a corner, ended up in the gutter and bounced off through a hedge. Not my finest hour. I walked away with a bruised ego but my wife ended up breaking her wrist and her leg. She’s a carer, but is now off work. We’re pretty skint, and struggling to pay the rent, and I’ve had to help her with bathing, cooking and getting dressed etc, which is taking me about 2 hours a day. I’ve also had to take time off work. I feel unbelievably guilty, and have a feeling that because we’re married she can’t claim against me. Is that right? And if she can claim can she include an amount for the care I’ve provided, along with my lost earnings?

A. As the accident was your fault your wife can claim against you, and your insurer will have to pay out. Being married does not preclude her from this. However, she cannot bring what is known as a subrogated claim for your own losses. The rationale is that you cocking up the corner means in the eyes of the law you are negligent. Therefore, you cannot benefit from that by your insurer effectively paying you. As an aside, on the guilt front, try not to beat yourself up. We have all made mistakes and that is from a man who nearly fell off on the mountain pass of the TT course riding his old crusty GSX1400 around a bend on the completely wrong line at 110mph! Wobbly!

White Dalton Solicitors is Britain’s most specialist motorcycle law practice. Managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike riding barristers compile Motor Cycle Monthly’s legal column. www.whitedalton.co.uk

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