Diesel & Oil Spills

One of the biggest differences between riding on two wheels and four, is how badly you can be affected by a slippery road surface, most commonly resulting from diesel or oil spills. 

With only two points of contact with the road, this momentary loss of traction can be devastating for cyclists when riding in anything other than a perfectly straight line. Because the front wheel scrubs out first, the rider is driven into the ground and fractured wrists and collar bones are common.

Our specialist cycling solicitors have years of experience in making successful diesel spill claims on behalf of riders and have recovered millions of pounds in damages for this type of accident.

Can I claim for an accident on a slippery road surface?

Yes, you can. Roads have minimum friction levels, so it will usually be a substance spilled on the road that’s made the road more slippery, and diesel is the most common culprit.

Who would my claim be against?

Your claim would be against the Motor Insurers’ Bureaux (or MIB).  The MIB are the insurer of last resort for untraced or uninsured motorists, with the claim being brought under the Untraced Drivers Agreement.

Why are the MIB (or an untraced driver) liable?

Diesel and oil spills have to get onto the road somehow.  They’re most often caused by large vehicles overfilling their fuel tanks or poor vehicle maintenance.  Both of these are negligent acts because even though that vehicle has long left the scene, they’re effectively setting a trap for any two-wheeled road user who comes along next.

Can it be a build-up of diesel/oil or does it need to be a single spill or?

It needs to be a single spill because it’s the act of depositing a substantial amount that’s negligent.  While an accumulation of diesel caused by a build-up of exhaust particles can be hazardous (often found at acceleration points like the bottom of hills), no one driver was negligent.

What if my accident is caused by muck on the road?

This will need to have been deposited by a road user, rather than having washed into the road from a hedge slip or the like, though if it's been tracked into the road by a farm vehicle then you would have a claim.

Do I need to know where it came from?

No. If it can be traced to its origin then the owner may be liable but, if not, it would fall into the untraced category and the claim would be against the MIB.

How can a specialist help me win my diesel/oil spill claim?

Diesel and oil spill claims are highly specialised and both the claims and appeals process are subject to strict rules which are different from those of normal civil law claims.  Expert advice from a solicitor who specialises in MIB claims is vitally important to maximise both the chance of the claim being accepted and the amount of damages that you get.