If you have been injured in an accident which was not your fault and occurred within the last three years, then you may have a claim for personal injury and loss against the person responsible for your accident.
To highlight the process, we have provided a real-life example where one of our clients was seriously injured in a road traffic accident.
The client (who we have set out below, but which is not her real name) instructed our specialist personal injury team to pursue a personal injury claim to compensate her for the injuries she suffered and to provide financial provision for her long-term care and assistance.
Case Study – Sarah
Sarah who was in her late 80's, was involved in a road traffic accident where the vehicle in which she was a front seat passenger was hit from the rear by another vehicle. Her driver had braked to avoid an oncoming vehicle which travelled the wrong way around a roundabout ('the Oncoming Vehicle').
Sarah suffered a fractured spine and a stroke as result of the accident and required surgery, followed by a lengthy stay in hospital.
When Sarah returned home, she required 24-hour care, and assistance with activities such as washing, dressing, cooking, and cleaning. Whilst the NHS were able to provide limited care for the first few weeks, this was a temporary measure. Sarah's family instructed private carers to help her with personal care and her adult son moved into her home to aid with cooking, shopping, travel etc.
Medical evidence concluded Sarah's condition was unlikely to improve and that she would require 'in house' care and assistance for the foreseeable future. Sarah also needed aids and equipment to help her around her home.
What can Sarah do?
Sarah and her family were concerned about the cost of her future care needs as she had insufficient savings to fund the private care fees long term. It was decided that Sarah should pursue a claim against the driver of the Oncoming Vehicle to compensate for her injuries and the financial losses she suffered due to the accident, including for the future cost of care.
Clapham & Collinge offered to act for Sarah under a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is commonly known as a No Win No Fee Agreement, so she did not have to meet her legal costs upfront. This enabled Sarah to focus her finances on paying for her care.
Claimants are entitled to recover compensation for (1) General Damages (compensation for injury, suffering and loss of amenity) and (2) Special Damages (financial loss incurred due to the accident including travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, care costs and aids and equipment.)
What is the process of making a claim?
We submitted details of Sarah's claim to the insurers of the Oncoming Vehicle. Under the Personal Injury Pre-Action Protocol, the insurers had three months to investigate the accident and confirm in writing whether they accepted that their driver was responsible for the accident.
In Sarah's case, the insurers for the Oncoming Vehicle blamed the driver of the vehicle which collided with the rear of Sarah's car for the accident. We argued the apportionment of blame between the drivers should not delay Sarah's claim and successfully persuaded the Oncoming Vehicle's insurers to deal with the claim on a Without Prejudice basis. This meant that the Oncoming Vehicle's insurers paid Sarah compensation and were free to pursue the other insurance company for a contribution later.
Once liability was admitted, from the driver of the car that hit the car Sarah was in we arranged for Sarah to undergo examinations with two specialist medical experts: a Consultant Spinal Surgeon and a Neurosurgeon, to assess Sarah's injuries and to prepare a report to assist in calculating her financial loss.
The experts agreed that Sarah's injuries were caused by the accident and concluded she would need 24/7 care in future. We obtained quotes for the cost of 24/7 private care and included the cost of Sarah's future care as part of her claim.
The Defendant argued that, due to her age, Sarah would have likely required substantial care in the near future even if the accident had not occurred and made a reduction to her claim for care. They also argued that Sarah's stroke was unrelated to the accident. These arguments were clear attempts to negotiate a lower settlement figure.
We engaged a specialist Barrister for advice and negotiated with the insurers' Solicitors to reach a favourable lump sum settlement which provided Sarah with significant compensation for her injuries and enough money to pay for her future care needs.
''Now that everything is settled I wanted to say how grateful we are for the excellent job you did with our claim. We really appreciate the care you took to ensure the best possible financial outcome. It is a great comfort to us all and we are very pleased we chose to deal with you and your company on this matter.''
If you have been involved in an accident and suffered an injury in the last 3 years, our dedicated Personal Injury lawyers are on hand to help. To discuss your circumstances in further detail, or for more information, contact us today on 01603 6963500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form on our website.
Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Free Legal Advice Clinic
We hold a free legal advice clinic every Tuesday from 12.00 Noon – 2.00pm, so you can discuss your circumstances with our friendly team of specialist lawyers. Click here for more information.
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*This case study is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.