Wanstalls Solicitors

Passionate about North East motorbiking – Ride One

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When I am not working as a personal injury solicitor my passion is motorbikes. For bikers, unlike car drivers, traveling is about the journey not where we are going from or too.

As I am privileged to live in the beautiful North East of England, I thought it would be fun to share with other bikers a snap shot of my favourite rides. I hope that other bikers will use the comments area below to share details of their favourite rides in their part of the country.

In the summer months I like to get up early in the morning (apologies to any of my neighbours who might read this!) and enjoy the spectacular roads of Durham, Cumbria, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The scenery is spectacular and here’s something to make many others jealous, the roads are fairly empty.

One of my favourite rides takes me the short distance from home to Lanchester not far from Durham. Turn left in the middle of Lanchester towards the village of Satley. Shortly after Satley the road comes to the A68. Turn right onto the A68, which I believe is one of the best biking roads in the UK, and head North towards Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

With the exception of a brief flirtation with the A69 dual carriageway, the A68 takes you all the way to Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders and beyond.

The scenery on the whole of the A68 is spectacular but I would particularly recommend stopping at the England/Scotland border crossing to take in the view.

A word of warning, as you go across the border into Scotland you will soon realise that the Scots love their speed cameras! Not that I would be speeding you understand, but I put this warning in for others.

After Jedburgh I like to continue on to the lovely border town of Melrose next to the Eildon Hills. The town is worth a visit but then carry on past Melrose to join up with the A7. I then head south towards Carlisle on the A7.

I know there is a bit of a theme here but again the A7 is a great riding road through spectacular scenery.

I turn off the A7 at Longtown and head towards Brampton in Cumbria. At Brampton I cross the A69 and head for the market town of Alston. Alston another lovely town but its hilly and cobbled so sometimes parking the bike can be a challenge!

From Alston I head down Wear Dale towards Stanhope and Wolsingham. There is a very nice café in Wolsingham called No.10. Its more Latte and Panini than mug of coffee and bacon sarnie but none the worse for that.

I turn left in the middle of Wolsingham which takes me back to where I originally joined the A68. Cross the A68 back to Satley, Lanchester and home.

In fairness this route is a good days ride (unless you’re on a sports bike then it’s probably just a few hours!) but very rewarding. When the UK so often seems crowded it’s great to spend a whole day seeing empty country with the occasional small town.

The best test of the quality of a ride is to share it with others. I have taken friends from East Anglia on this ride and they were bowled over by the roads and the scenery. I had to tell them not to worry when their bikes seemed to be heading towards the sky. It just means they are going uphill, something they are not very familiar with!

Any bikers reading this, give the route a try, I promise you you will not be disappointed. Why not share details of your favourite rides in your part of the UK.

Ian Wanstall

Ian Wanstall Motor Bike

My current ride – Honda 1100 Shadow ACE

Wanstalls Solicitors are based in County Durham in the North East of England. We represent clients both locally and nationwide and offer a friendly personalised service. If you would like to discuss any aspect of a personal injury claim, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Reflections on Stage 3 of the Personal Injury Claims Process

Anyone who has been involved in an RTA Personal Injury claim in the last 16 months will be aware of the new electronic claims process.

Stage 1 of the process deals with liability and Stage 2 with valuation and, hopefully, settlement.

There is a third stage to the process not surprisingly called Stage 3. Stage 3 is a truncated system for the resolution of disputes on the value of the claim by the courts.

Stage 3 is also used to obtain court approval for settlements for children but it is the other use of Stage 3 that is examined in this blog.

Some months ago when we spoke to a couple of county courts in major cities we were told that they had received very few applications under Stage 3 for the court to decide the value of adult RTA claims.

In some respects it is good news that Stage 3 is not being used extensively. This demonstrates that the system is working well in that the majority of claims are settling at the end of Stage 2.

On the negative side it may be that the Stage 3 process is not being used enough. It is only by using Stage 3 in appropriate cases that an appreciation can be gained of the levels of damages a court is prepared to award in the area of low value RTA claims.

The Stage 3 system is better for clients than the litigation of disputes as to the value of a claim under the old system particularly where the case is dealt with on paper without the need for the client to attend court.

Another advantage of Stage 3 is that the client receives the damages offered by the insurers at the end of Stage 2 so they do not have to wait till the end of Stage 3 to receive payment at least of part of their damages.

In our experience what does discourage a lot of clients from using Stage 3 is the prospect of having to pay back some of the damages received if the court ultimately awards less than the amount they were paid at the end of Stage 2. The effect of this should be minimised by careful selection of those cases where the use of Stage 3 is advised.

The other concern for clients is if the insurers insist on an oral hearing as this would involve the client in attending court which is a prospect that not many relish!

The experience of Wanstalls to date is that those cases that we have taken to Stage 3 have been dealt with on paper with no inconvenience to our clients. The experience has also been one of success with the court awarding higher damages and in some instances awarding damages for heads of claim that the insurers refused to consider.

The other success we have had is with insurers offering higher damages as soon as we “pressed the button” for Stage 3!

Whilst it takes the courts several months to deal with a Stage 3 case even on paper it still works well as a simplified process to have the court asses the damages in appropriate cases. It is certainly a process that we would encourage the use of.

As yet, apart from infant settlement approval hearings, we have not yet had an oral hearing for an adult claim at Stage 3. I’m sure we will in due course and that can be the subject of another blog.

Ian Wanstall

Wanstalls Solicitors are based in County Durham in the North East of England. We represent clients both locally and nationwide and offer a friendly personalised service. If you would like to discuss any aspect of a personal injury claim, we would be delighted to hear from you.