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Cocaine pain


I have a compo claim due to an accident last summer. I was on the back of my mate’s bike as he was giving me a lift home. We had been at a friend’s BBQ and I didn’t see my mate drink any alcohol so I thought it was safe to go with him. What I didn’t know is that he had been taking cocaine in the toilets. He lost control on and we both came off. He was convicted for drug driving. His insurers are now saying they won’t pay me compensation as I knew he was taking drugs but I decided to get on the bike anyway. This is not fair as I had no idea he even used cocaine. Can you offer any advice?

Reggie, Staffs



The metabolite in cocaine is something called benzoylecgonine. Perhaps surprisingly there is a “legal limit” of 50 microgrammes of this substance per litre of blood. Anything over this and the you are likely to be prosecuted in accordance with Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

You need to get witness evidence to help prove you had no idea that he was using the drug at the BBQ as well as giving your own evidence. If the insurer shows that it was obvious or that you knew or ought to have known that your mate was taking cocaine then you may well find you will receive reduced compensation to account for your contributory negligence. Tell your solicitors to have a look at the case of Owens v Brimmell [1977] dealing with the “ought to have known” test.



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