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The family of a motorcyclist who died when his Harley Davidson ploughed into an oncoming after swerving to avoid a sharply braking van, has been awarded £270,000 compensation.

Paul Bellingham from Limavady in Northen Ireland was on holiday in Scotland when the crash happened on the A71 at Hooston Bridge, Hurlford in Ayrshire in July 2008.

His wife Alison sued the driver of the van James Todd of Newmilns in Ayrshire whom she claimed had been negligent because he carried out emergency braking without justification.

The case was heard at the Court of Session where the Judge Lord Woolman made the award despite finding that Mr Bellingham was 80% to blame for the crash.

The court heard that Mr Bellingham and his brother Mark were on their way to a motorcycle rally in Lanarkshire and found themselves behind Mr Todd’s van.

The accident happened when Mr Todd braked suddenly to avoid a vehicle which was slowing down to make a right hand turn.

Lord Woolman said “I hold that Mr Todd was in part to blame for the accident and that any emergency on the road was created by his own inattention.

“By braking hard, Mr Todd was in breach of his duty of care to his fellow road users. I hold that the accident would not have happened, but for Mr Todd's negligence.

“However the collision was principally caused by the negligence of Mr Bellingham.

Mr Bellingham was far too close to Mr Todd’s van. He should have been about 34 to 44 metres behind the van. By being so close Mr Bellingham did not allow himself sufficient distance to come to a stop”.

Lord Woolman said he would attribute 80% of the blame to Mr Bellingham and 20% to Mr Todd and awarded compensation to Mrs Bellingham and other family members.

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