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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47377
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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On Saturday I attended a Gulf service station to acquire

Customer Question

On Saturday I attended a Gulf service station to acquire fuel for my motorbike. On approach there was no obvious signs of any issues but when I pulled up at the pump to fuel my motorbike I found myself stood in a large amount of spiller fuel. I then saw a hand written A4 size note on the pump stating that the pump was failing to switch off when full (hence the fuel spill) and that the engineer had been informed. There was also a small amount of sand on the ground but this was soaked in fuel. I have taken photos of the message and the fuel spill that there was no warning of until you are actually sat in the spill. I then continued on my journey but a short time later my bike lost traction and I was thrown from my vehicle into the path of oncoming traffic. Luckily I was not hit but my motorbike will probably be written off. I believe the crash was as a direct result of the fuel spill at the garage for which there was no advance warning of. How do I now proceed with contacting and making a claim against the fuel company?
Regards
Shaun
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Please can you tell me if you have contacted the garage about this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No not yet.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can with your options. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Whist there may be a case for negligence here, there are certain criteria you must satisfy before you acre actually able to claim.

First of all who are you going to sue? The fact that there was a note and sand there means that the garage knew of the spill. Had they not know about it that would have been a lot more difficult to claim for. However, in the circumstances it point to knowledge on their part so it would be whoever was responsible for the running and management of the garage forecourt.

Secondly, were their actions negligent? A court would look at whether a reasonable garage in their position would have taken different measures to deal with this. For example, would they have cordoned off the area and prevented people from accessing the contaminated area or were their actions suitable in the circumstances.

Next, and quite importantly, you must be able to show that the accident was as a result of the fuel spill. To you it may be obvious but a court would look at whether something else could have been responsible for it – the tread on your tyres, the road conditions, the way you were riding, etc. So some direct link between the crash and the fuel on your tyres must be shown.

Finally, you must be able to show that the damage that occurred was reasonably foreseeable. I would say that if you can meet the above criteria, it would not be that difficult to show that having fuel on the tyres would have likely caused the motorbike to crash and sustain serious damage.

Assuming you can meet satisfy these conditions, a potential claim can be made.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow to initiate a claim, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,
Thanks for the advice. In regards ***** ***** legal action or indeed the reminder letter who would you advise contacting. The service station itself as being directly responsible or the franchising company (Gulf) for overall responsibility?
Just to let you know and in reply to some of your responses, the tyres were in good condition and certainly complied with legal requirements. The weather was fine and sunny and the road conditions were also dry. I also have Independant witnesses who stated that in their opinion I was not riding at excess speed nor riding erratically and was not attempting any manoeuvre at the time.RegardsShaun
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi Shaun, you should contact the garage directly first and they should either deal with this themselves or pass this on to the higher company if necessary