Bike trials

Five months ago I had a serious road accident involving a lorry.  I have since been told by the police that I wasn’t legally permitted to ride a motorbike of that engine size.  Will this prevent me claiming compensation for the accident?  WK

If the other driver caused the accident the fact that you werenit licensed to ride a bike of that engine capacity wonit stop you claiming damages.  However your handling of the machine will come under close scrutiny, and it’s likely that there would be a finding of contributory negligence on your part.  The other driver could argue, for example, that you would have been travelling more slowly on a less powerful bike.  Any compensation you were awarded could be reduced accordingly.  However you should see a solicitor specialising in personal injury cases without delay.

Sky high charges

I live in a block of flats where, as shareholders, we all own the freehold.  This year the board of directors proposed a 16.5 per cent increase to our maintenance charges, which was approved by three-quarters of the owners.  Those against are retired people who object to funds being spent on things such as a satellite dish.  Is there anything we can do before we are priced out?  RM

You will no doubt have signed an agreement when you bought the flat, or bought the freehold, which sets out rules for appointing the board of directors and which establishes voting procedures.  It is unlikely that you will be able to opt out of maintenance charges that have been approved by the majority, so your best option is probably to get yourself appointed to the board so that you can have a direct influence on future decisions.