A survivor of a major motorcycle crash and his family from the North East are warning motorcyclists of the consequences of not getting insured and failing to wear helmets.

The call comes from 18-year-old James Hall who came off his Kawasaki 85 when he was hit by an uninsured rider. James fractured his skull and suffered a major head injury but puts his survival down to wearing a helmet.

The fact that the other rider had no insurance has led to an almost eight year fight by James and his family to get compensation.

Brain Injury, Broken Pelvis and Collarbone

Motocross enthusiast James was practising for a competition by riding laps at Cambois beach near Blyth in September 2003 when an uninsured driver drove across his path leaving him with a serious brain injury, broken pelvis and collarbone, having to have an eight-inch plate in his leg and on a life support machine for five days.

James is now studying at Newcastle College but is working with the Child Brain Injury Trust in the North East and Thompsons Solicitors to raise awareness about brain injuries and the problems caused by uninsured drivers.

After receiving instructions less than 18 months ago, and obtaining the case from their previous solicitors, Thompsons Solicitors were successful in settling the claim against the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and James and his family finally received a substantial sum in compensation. The MIB is the insurer of last resort and responsible for paying out in cases where drivers have no insurance.

Buying motorbike insurance is not an optional extra

A brain injury specialist from Thompsons Solicitors in Newcastle said: “Buying motorbike insurance is not an ‘optional extra’. Failing to take out insurance has not only legal consequences but long term moral ones too.

“James and his family had to come to terms with his injuries as well as the fact that the other driver’s lack of insurance meant a tough battle for damages.

“Had the driver been insured they would have got their compensation many years earlier when the family most needed the support. Thankfully charities such as the Child Brain Injury Trust and others are on hand to provide help and support when it matters most. This case in particular highlights the great work that these charities do in giving families the help and support they need in order to come to terms with what can be life changing injuries”

Life was saved by motorbike helmet

James mum Fiona said: “James’ life was saved by his motorbike helmet and he wants other riders to realise the dangers. Nipping out on your bike without protection means dicing with death. And uninsured motorbikers could be sending another family like us to hell and back when they turn the key and drive off.

She added: “It’s a great relief to have the claim finally settled but it has been a long hard fight. Had the other driver been insured we could have had the money to help us through years ago when I had to give up work to look after James.”

Miranda Barty-Taylor from the Child Brain Injury Trust said: “Riding motorbikes has become more popular among young people but many do not think about the dangers involved.

“Wearing a helmet whilst riding a motorbike can reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury by 65% and death by 37%. James is living proof of just how important it is to wear the correct safety equipment. Without it, he quite simply wouldn’t be here today.”