Six-figure payout for biker injured in tractor collision

A biker who was seriously injured in a collision with a tractor is due a six-figure compensation payment even though a judge ruled he was two-thirds to blame.

High Court judge Mr Justice Supperstone said evidence suggested motorcyclist Warwick Buswell was riding close to 70mph as he went over the brow of a hill before the collision on the Isle of Wight in July 2011.

But he ruled that farm contractor, Robert Symes, was also negligent in blocking the whole width of the B3399 Newport Road, near Tapnell Dump.

London’s High Court heard Mr Buswell, 44, of Shamblers Road, Cowes, suffered multiple injuries in the collision, including a serious head injury.

However, fellow biker Warren Godfrey told the judge how the bikers were faced with an emergency the moment they came over the hill.

The pair hit their brakes but were unable to avoid Mr Symes’ tractor and trailer, which had emerged on to the road through a gap in a hedge.

Mr Buswell’s bike slammed straight into the farm vehicle and Mr Godfrey’s slid underneath the trailer, coming out on the other side. He too was badly injured.

Self-employed Mr Symes was hauling grass silage from East Afton Farm.

The judge said his ‘excuses’ for not having used a safer alternative exit from the field were not supported by the evidence.

He added: “I am driven to the conclusion that Mr Symes appreciated the risks that he was taking when he drove his tractor and trailer out on the B3399 from the exit he used.

“I accept that either he foresaw the danger and took the risk or he did not foresee it when he should have done. Whichever it was, he was negligent”.

However, Mr Justice Supperstone went on to rule both bikers knew, or should have appreciated the hazards.

“In my view they were running a very great risk of colliding with anything that may have been in the road over the hill.

“Mr Buswell was at fault in driving much too fast.I consider that he was two-thirds to blame for the collision that occurred”.

Mr Buswell’s compensation is now likely to be paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the industry body which compensates victims of uninsured drivers because the tractor had no insurance.

The amount of the damages payout has yet to be assessed. However, given the extent of Mr Buswell’s injuries, it is likely to run well into six figures even after a two-thirds deduction.

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