We will assess your injury claim We will assess your injury claim

UK Road Traffic Accidents

In the UK, road traffic accident claims are the most common form of personal injury claim. You are entitled to make road traffic accident claims in the UK if you have sustained a personal injury due to the negligence or lack of care of another road user.

When you make UK road traffic accident claims, you are advised to do so with the assistance of an experienced solicitor. Many victims of road traffic accidents are approached directly by the negligent party´s insurers with an offer of settlement and, if you do not know the potential value of UK road traffic accident claims, it is possible that you may inadvertently accept an offer which is insufficient for your needs.

In order to establish how much compensation you should receive for road traffic accident claims in the UK, call our freephone injury claims advice service and discuss your claim directly with an experienced solicitor.

Settlement of Motorbike Accident Compensation Approved

May 19, 2017

A multi-million pounds settlement of motorbike accident compensation has been approved at the High Court in favour of a brain-damaged man in his twenties.

In the summer of 2013, the young man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was riding on the A396 near his home town of Exmoor in Devon when a lorry turned out of a junction immediately in front of him. Unable to avoid a collision, the motorcyclist hit the lorry and was knocked from his bike – suffering a severe brain injury and multiple broken bones.

Although making a good recovery from his physical injuries, the nature of his brain injury means he will never be able to work again and will likely require full-time care for the rest of his life. On their son´s behalf, the man´s parents – who are now his primary carers – made a claim for motorbike accident compensation against the negligent lorry driver.

The lorry driver admitted he had been at fault for not seeing the motorcyclist, but the speed at which the man had been riding his motorbike was brought into question. Consequently, when the settlement of the claim was negotiated, it took into account the motorcyclist´s contributory negligence and was adjusted accordingly.

At the London High Court, Judge Jeremy Freedman said he considered the settlement of the motorbike accident compensation claim “excellent” in the circumstances. It consists of a £3.6 million lump sum payment followed by index-linked annual payments of £58,500, rising to £108,750 per year in 2023, and rising again to £119,625 per year from 2053.

Approving the settlement of the motorbike accident compensation claim, Judge Freedman added: “It is as good an outcome as he could have been hoped for, and provides financial security for him for the rest of his life. He has recovered remarkably well from his severe injuries but he has been left badly brain damaged and disabled as a result of the accident.”

Read More

Taxi Injury Claim Resolved for Six-Figure Settlement

April 21, 2017

A former train driver´s taxi injury claim has been resolved for a six-figure settlement after the taxi driver´s negligence was established by solicitors.

In December 2013, Gareth Jones (41) and his brother were returning from a night out near their home town of Machynlleth, Powys, when Gareth was hit by a taxi as he crossed the A489. The force of the impact knocked Gareth several feet down the road and he was rushed to hospital with multiple injuries, including a serious brain injury.

The serious brain injury has left Gareth with reduced mobility and in need of full-time care. He has been unable to return to his job as a train driver and is unlikely to ever be able to lead an independent life. On Gareth´s behalf, his partner – Tracy – sought legal advice and made a taxi injury claim against the taxi driver who had hit him.

The taxi driver denied liability and no charges were brought against him following a police investigation. However, Gareth and Tracy´s solicitors established he had been driving too quickly for the conditions on the night of the accident and pursued the taxi injury claim. Eventually, the taxi driver´s insurance company agreed to a six-figure settlement of the claim.

The settlement of the taxi injury claim will mean that Gareth and Tracy can move to house better suited to Gareth´s needs and in which he will enjoy a better quality of life. Speaking with her local newspaper after the taxi injury claim had been resolved, Tracy said:

“This collision has turned our entire world upside-down.,” said Tracey. “Gareth went out that night with his brother, but came home a completely different person. For the driver to deny that he was at fault is an insult to our family – if he had paid more attention to the road, he would have seen Gareth.”

Read More

Changes to Whiplash Compensation Claims to Take Effect Oct 2018

February 28, 2017

The government has announced changes to how whiplash compensation claims will be handled and the date from which the changes will take effect – Oct 1st 2018.

Details of most of the government´s personal injury reforms were announced last week by the Ministry of Justice – including changes to how whiplash compensation claims will be handled from Oct 1st 2018. As largely expected, the threshold for claims made through the small courts has been raised to £5,000, but this increase only relates to injuries sustained in road traffic accidents. Other personal injury claims through the small claims court will be subject to a ceiling of £2,000, with the exception of claims for minor psychological injuries such as travel anxiety and shock.

In addition to the new threshold for small claims, whiplash compensation claims will be settled according to how long the symptoms of whiplash persist. Over the seven bands ranging from “up to three months” to nineteen to twenty-four months” claimants will be entitled to receive a set figure of between £225 and £3,725 – generally much lower than the current levels of whiplash injury settlements. Strict definitions will be applied to what constitutes a whiplash injury in order to reduce the scope for whiplash compensation claims to circumnavigate the new measure.

In one further significant change to whiplash compensation claims, insurance companies will be prohibited from making an offer of settlement without medical evidence. This measure will help eliminate bogus whiplash compensation claims and encourage insurance companies to make fair and accurate offers of settlement to claimants injured in a road traffic accident. The Ministry of Justice commented it expects the savings made by insurance companies under the changes to be reflected in the cost of future motor insurance policies.

The Ministry also added that judges would have the discretion to increase or decrease whiplash compensation settlements by up to 20% “in exceptional circumstances”. No definition has been given of what “exceptional circumstances” should involve, the Ministry believing it is more appropriate for the courts to decide when circumstances are exceptional.

Read More

MoJ Justifying Motor Accident Claims Policy on “Selective Data”

January 16, 2017

The Motor Accident Solicitors Society has accused the Department of Justice of using selective data to justify its motor accident claims policy.

The criticism of the mechanics being used to shape injury claims reforms was made by Simon Stanfield – the Chairman of the Motor Accidents Solicitors Society. In a recent press release, he claimed the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was cherry-picking data to suit its motor accident claims policy and ignoring the rights of motor accident casualties.

Mr Stanfield referred to the MoJ´s consultation paper on motor accident claims, in which it was stated that the number of reported accidents between 2006 and 2015 had fallen from 190,000 to 142,000 per year. Yet Department for Transport figures published last week in Parliament revealed that more than 500,000 accidents were unreported to the police between 2011 and 2015.

Saying that he was hugely disappointed that the MoJ was justifying its motor accident claims policy on “selective data”, Mr Stanfield commented that the Ministry had systematically chosen to ignore the Department´s best estimate of around 710,000 motor accident casualties (reported and unreported), and that these are real people who need insurers and lawyers to look after them.

He added: “What we need is evidence-based policy to tackle the issues in the claims sector, not continued attempts to ignore the evidence of the number of road casualties to suit its policy agenda. With the evidence now before Parliament in black and white, the MoJ must now acknowledge that its evidence base for these proposals is seriously and perhaps fatally flawed.”

The Department for Transport figures presented to Parliament last week were in response to a question by the Chair of the Transport Select Committee – Louise Ellman MP. They were based on hospital admissions and other collected data between 2011 and 2015, and estimated around 460,000 “slight” injuries were unreported each year, along with 60,000 serious injuries due to motor accidents.

Read More

Insurers Challenge Proposed Changes to Lump Sum Compensation Payments

December 28, 2016

The insurance industry is taking legal action against proposed injury claims reforms that would increase lump sum compensation payments for serious injuries.

When courts award lump sum compensation payments for serious injuries, a “discount” is often applied to the settlement. The discount represents an assumption about how much interest the lump sum will accrue if the claimant invests the settlement over his or her life expectancy.

Historically, the amount of the discount was influenced by the interest rate at the time. However, in 2001, the government set a fixed rate of 2.5 percent. This rate has remained unchanged since, despite the decline in interest rates following the financial crash of 2008.

According to a report in the Financial Times, insurance companies are unhappy with proposals announced by Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss to reduce the discount rate to a percentage more appropriate to the current economic climate.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claims that a reduction of the discount rate would result in a substantial increase in the value of lump sum compensation payments and feels that the industry has not been fully consulted about the consequences of the proposals.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Huw Evans – the Director-General of the ABI – explained why the organization was taking legal action against the proposed injury claims reforms, saying: Insurers are open to a proper dialogue on how to reform the system, but this is not the way to do it”.

Mr Evans believes that the discount rate applied to lump sum compensation payments needs to reflect the actual returns claimants could receive, rather than relying on a single figure. “It is vital that claimants get the compensation they are entitled to” he told the newspaper, “based on a formula that reflects how they are likely to invest it”.

The consequences of a significantly reduced discount rate and higher lump sum compensation payments for serious injuries could eliminate any savings to motorists generated by the proposals aimed at cracking down on fraudulent whiplash claims. Mohammad Khan – at partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers told the Financial Times: “It could increase the average price paid for motor insurance by 20 percent”, adding approximately £85.00 per year to the average car insurance policy.

Read More

Concerns Raised about Future Cyclist Injury Claims

December 21, 2016

The British Cycling Federation has raised concerns about proposed whiplash compensation reforms and the impact they will have on cyclist injury claims.

Last month, Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced that a series of reforms were being considered that would “crack down on minor, exaggerated and fraudulent [personal injury] claims”. The proposals are intended to address the perceived compensation culture that is allegedly responsible for inflating car insurance premiums. However, if adopted in their present state, the reforms will affect not only drivers and passengers with whiplash injuries, but all personal injury claims.

One of the most significant proposals is to increase the threshold for “small claims” from £1,000 to £5,000. Legal costs cannot be recovered from the negligent party in “small claims” and several organisations are concerned that the costs of seeking professional legal advice will deter many genuine claimants from taking legal action to recover compensation – or attempt to get a fair settlement from insurance companies without legal assistance.

One such organisation with concerns about their members´ access to justice is the British Cycling Federation. The Federation has produced statistics showing that 70 percent of cyclist injury claims are settled for less than £5,000. It also argues that its members could lose their entitlement to legal support because insurance companies want the government to do something about the volume of whiplash claims they process.

Martin Key, the Campaigns Manager for the British Cycling Federation, said: “This is a disappointing set of proposals, and we felt the need to speak out publicly on behalf of Britain’s cyclists as well as submit our own response to the consultation. “The vast majority of injuries sustained in cycling incidents are valued at under the proposed £5,000 limit, meaning that – under the new proposals – any cyclist involved in an incident would find it very difficult to get legal representation and therefore to be adequately compensated for their injuries.”

The British Cycling Federation is also unhappy that the consultation process for the proposed reforms runs over the Christmas period. It says that the January 6th deadline for responses to the proposals does not allow enough time for the broad number of issues affecting cyclist injury claims to be raised. The Federation will be submitting its response before the deadline, but is asking the Ministry of Justice to re-think both the proposals and the deadline for responses.

Read More

Claims for Injuries due to Defective Street Lighting Increase

October 31, 2016

Claims for injuries due to defective street lighting have increased in Northern Ireland according to the province´s Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard.

Mr Hazzard was responding to an Assembly question from East Belfast UUP MLA Andy Allen when the minister revealed that there were sixteen claims made against the Department of Infrastructure last year in which defective street lighting was primary responsible for an injury being sustained.

Settlement of the claims for injuries due to defective street lighting amounted to £59,000 – a fifteen-fold increase from two years ago when there were just three claims settled. The figure represented a three-fold increase from 2014/15, when twelve claims for injuries caused by defective street lighting were settled.

The minister said there may be other claims made against the Department of Infrastructure in which defective street lighting was a contributory factor, but it was not possible to identify these in the department´s database. The minister also agreed that the figures related only to compensation settlements, and that there may be other legal and administrative costs to account for as well.

Defective street lighting is a hot topic of debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly. In 2015, members of the Assembly raised concerns about the number of complaints relating to defective street lighting they were receiving from their constituents. It was found that 17,888 street lights were not working and that around a third of all the province´s street lights were turned off at night to save money.

More than £2 million was spent fixing the defective street lighting, and a further £1 million was added to the department´s budget in June for investment in cost-saving LED street lighting. The minister said that of 48,000 street light outages reported over the last 12 months, 42,500 have already been repaired. The replacement of the existing street lighting with LED lights is an ongoing project that is expected to conclude next year.

Read More

Girl Awarded Undisclosed Compensation for Road Rage Injuries

August 29, 2016

A girl, who was seriously injured when run over by a dangerous driver, has been awarded an undisclosed settlement of compensation for road rage injuries.

In June 2012, Emily Kirwin was just four years of age when she was riding in the trailer of her father´s bicycle, as he and Emily´s mother were cycling near their home in North Cave, East Yorkshire. As the family cycled along through Yorkshire Wolds, a Range Rover driven by Carl Baxter drove past dangerously close to them.

Emily´s father – Stephen Kirwin – shouted at Baxter and raised his fist in anger. Baxter retaliated by reversing his vehicle at speed into Stephen´s bicycle – crushing both Stephen and Emily. Stephen suffered broken ribs, a broken pelvis and a broken leg. Emily´s injuries were so serious that three passing nurses who stopped at the scene initially thought she was dead.

Emily was taken to hospital in a coma, where she remained unconscious for six days. Among her many injuries were a broken jaw, a broken nose and blurred vision. She was unable to walk for several weeks and had to undergo regular check-ups through her childhood to identify any brain damage that had occurred.

In 2003, Baxter was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to two counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He was also banned from driving for two years.

The family refrained from claiming compensation for road rage injuries on Emily´s behalf until they received a final confirmation that there was no long-lasting injuries. When the claim was made, Baxter´s insurers admitted liability and the claim was settled for an undisclosed five-figure amount.

Speaking with her local paper, Emily – now eighteen years of age – said: “In a way it was worse for my parents because they witnessed the accident, whereas I can only remember waking up in hospital.
My face is still slightly distorted, but fortunately for the most part I have made a good recovery.”

Read More

Teacher Settles Claim for Serious Injuries in a Lorry Accident

July 21, 2016

A teacher, who was lucky to escape with her life when her car was crushed under an HGV, has settled her claim for serious injuries in a lorry accident.

In December 2014, Katie Holt (39) – an English teacher from Colchester in Essex – was driving along the A120 to her job at the Felsted Preparatory School, when she was hit from behind by a skip hire lorry. The impact of the collision forced Katie´s VW Golf under the back of an HGV lorry immediately in front of her – crushing her vehicle to such a degree that first responders did not realise that a car had been involved in the accident.

It took more than an hour to cut Katie free from her crushed vehicle; after which she was air-lifted to the Royal London Hospital where she received treatment for a fractured skull, a fractured back, a broken arm and severe facial lacerations. Katie also suffered damage to her optic nerve that has affected her vision. She also still suffers from balance problems, loss of memory and hearing loss.

The driver of the skip hire lorry – Kevin Mann (51) from Great Horkesley in Essex – was prosecuted by police for driving without due care and attention after his tachograph revealed he had not braked in time as the traffic in front of him slowed. He was given six penalty points, fined £350 and ordered to pay £550 costs by Colchester Magistrates´ Court in July 2015.

With liability established, Katie made a claim for serious injuries in a lorry accident against Mann. Once the ongoing impact of the accident on Katie´s life had been assessed, the claim was settled for an undisclosed amount. Speaking after the claim for serious injuries in a lorry accident had been resolved, Katie´s solicitor said: “We are glad to have been able to secure Katie a settlement from the skip company’s insurers that will enable her to access the rehabilitation services she needs.”

Katie has made a remarkable recovery. Despite the ongoing consequences of her accident, she has been able to return to work and, in June, gave birth to her first child. Katie still has no recollection of the accident, but told the East Anglian Daily Times: “I only hope that what happened to me will show drivers, particularly those driving large vehicles, the long-term consequences of even a slight lapse in concentration on the road.”

Read More

Car Crash Psychological Injuries Claim Settled Out of Court

June 9, 2016

A man who suffered PTSD after being involved in a fatal head-on collision has settled his car crash psychological injuries claim out of court for £30,000.

On 8th March 2012, fifty-year-old Warren Smith from Burnley in Lancashire was driving along the A671 Bacup Road between Burnley and Rochdale, when his car was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle that had come out of a sharp bend on the wrong side of the road.

The negligent driver was fatally injured in the accident, while Warren was taken to hospital suffering from multiple injuries to his head, chest and back. Warren´s physical injuries left him unable to drive and resulted in the loss of his job as a contracts manager due to it involving driving long distances.

Warren was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression following his accident. However, when he first sought legal advice about claiming injury compensation from the negligent driver´s insurance company, his psychological injuries were overlooked and Warren was told he would only likely receive around £3,000 injury compensation.

Warren sought a second opinion and, following advice from another solicitor, submitted a car crash psychological injuries claim that accounted for both the physical and psychological consequences of the accident. The claim has now been settled out of court by the negligent driver´s insurance company for £30,000 – sufficient to pay for Warren´s rehabilitation and therapy.

Speaking with the Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen after his car crash psychological injuries claim had been settled, Warren said: “People should not underestimate the consequences of car accidents and I am lucky to be alive”.

He continued: “I am still haunted by the events of that day and my injuries are a constant reminder of the fact that someone died in the crash. But I am incredibly relieved that I now have access to the care and support that I need to move forward with my life.”

Read More

Cyclist Settles Injury Claim for a Bike Accident with a White Van

May 26, 2016

A cyclist, whose injury claim for a bike accident with a white van was contested by the van driver´s insurers, has now successfully resolved his claim.

In May 2015, Walter Hamilton was cycling on the outskirts of his home city of Edinburgh, when he was hit by a white van turning right immediately in front of him. Walter was knocked off of his bike and suffered cuts to his face and a serious knee injury as a result of the accident.

According to Walter´s version of the events after the accident, the driver of the white van was very apologetic and admitted that the accident had been his fault. However, when Walter approached Aviva Insurance with an injury claim for a bike accident with a white van, the driver had given his insurance company a different version of events – and supported it with staged photographs.

Relying on the van driver´s account of the accident, Aviva Insurance denied their policyholder´s liability for Walter´s injuries and contested the injury claim for a bike accident with a white van. Fortunately, Walter had taken his own photographs of the accident scene and, after seeking legal advice from a solicitor, launched legal action against Aviva Insurance.

After reviewing Walter´s photographs of the accident scene, Aviva Insurance admitted liability but tried to get Walter to accept a settlement much lower than his injuries entitled him to. A court hearing was set for June 14th for the assessment of damages but, less than three weeks before the hearing was due to take place, Aviva Insurance agreed to a £17,000 settlement of Walter´s injury claim for a bike accident with a white van.

Walter´s solicitor believes that the van driver had produced staged photographs in order to protect his no claims bonus, and criticised Aviva Insurance for their attempted third party capture. She added: “Walter’s case also shows the importance of taking photos. If possible, photos should be taken immediately following a collision, as these are the best evidence in supporting a particular version of events. Insurance companies often try and under-settle cases by putting forward low offers as they did initially in Walter’s case, but a fair level of compensation was fought for and won.”

Read More

Sailor Awarded High Court Car Crash Injuries Compensation

May 16, 2016

A former world-class competitive sailor has been awarded £464,655 High Court car crash injuries compensation after a hearing at Laganside Courts in Belfast.

Rosie Sands (29) from Exmouth in Devon had just finished competing in the World Sailing Championships and was preparing for the British Sailing Championships when, in July 2012, she was invited to stay with some friends of her family in Northern Ireland.

Also invited to stay was another long-time friend – Michelle Hulford from Luton. However, the party of friends had just picked up Michelle from the airport when the car in which they were travelling hit head-on by a jeep and trailer on the A57 in County Antrim – just outside the town of Doagh.

Michelle (21) was fatally injured in the accident, while Rosie and the other occupants of the car suffered multiple injuries. Rosie was taken to hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for injuries to her back, shoulder and abdomen. She was also subsequently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

On returning to Exmouth, Rosie made a claim for car crash injuries compensation against the driver of the jeep – Stephen Hamilton. Hamilton admitted liability for causing the accident in which Rosie was injured, but the two parties could not agree on a settlement of compensation.

The claim was resolved at the conclusion of a hearing at Laganside Courts in Belfast. During the hearing, Mr Justice Adrian Colton was told how Rosie suffered nightmares and flashbacks after the accident and how her life had changed “irrevocably” due to the injuries sustained in the accident.

Judge Colton heard that Rosie´s injuries had prevented her from sailing competitively and completing her honours degree at Bath Spa University. Due to her injuries and being unable to complete her degree, Rosie also had to abandon plans to join the RAF or Navy.

After commenting that Rosie had been a “honest, understated, stoical and admirable” witness, Judge Colton awarded her £464,655 High Court car crash injuries compensation to account for the personal injuries she had suffered, the cost of her treatment and her future loss of income.

Read More

Claims for Injured Bus Passengers Following Chesterfield Crash

May 4, 2016

Claims for injured bus passengers are likely following the arrest of a motorist suspected of causing a three vehicle accident by driving dangerously.

The crash involving a bus and two cars happened on March 3rd on the Brimlington Road in Chesterfield. Seven passengers on the Number 70 bus to Killamarsh and one of the car drivers were taken to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, while the other car driver was air-lifted to the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham with serious injuries.

Following an investigation into the crash, police have arrested and bailed a 37-year-old man on suspicion of causing injuries by dangerous driving. Passengers injured in the crash have already started seeking advice about their legal rights, and claims for the injured bus passengers are likely to be made once the police prosecution has advanced.

One of the injured passengers – seventy-year-old Mavis Blood from Staveley – suffered a serious head injury in the accident. When she arrived at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Mavis was found to have a bleed on her brain in addition to deep cuts of her face. She was kept in hospital overnight while doctors monitored her, but seems to have survived the crash without any permanent injuries.

The day after the accident, Mavis´ granddaughter – Ellen Chapman – told the Derbyshire Times: “She went to hospital and there was concern because she’s 70 she’s high risk, and they found she’s got a bleed on the brain, likely because she takes blood thinning tablets. They’re monitoring her and hoping the bleed will sort herself out.”

One solicitor handling the claims for injured bus passengers said: “The consequences of such incidents should not be downplayed, as through our work acting on behalf of clients we have seen how crashes of this nature have left victims suffering from not only their physical injuries months after the event, but also the psychological trauma.”

Read More

Woman Settles her Claim for Injuries in a Head-On Car Crash

April 29, 2016

A woman, who suffered life-changing injuries in an accident, has settled her claim for injuries in a head-on car crash against the negligent driver´s insurers.

On 7th September 2012, fifty-year-old Dawn Bradley was driving her Kia Picanto along the B4680 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, when a car travelling in the opposite direction attempted to overtake another vehicle on a blind bend and crashed directly into her.

The negligent driver and his male passenger were killed in the accident, while Dawn – a health care assistant from nearby Elmesthorpe – was taken to hospital suffering from a fractured sternum, fractured ribs, a badly crushed lower right leg, and cuts and grazes.

Since the accident, Dawn has undergone four operations on her leg. Because of the debilitating pain she still experiences, she is unable to stand for more than two minutes or walk for more than five minutes, and has been unable to return to work.

After seeking legal advice, Dawn made a claim for injuries in a head-on car crash against the negligent driver´s insurers. The insurance company admitted liability and Dawn has now settled her claim for injuries in a head-on car crash for an undisclosed six-figure amount.

The funds will be professionally managed so that Dawn can continue her rehabilitation and pay for home help so that she can live independently. Speaking after the settlement of her claim for injuries in a head-on car crash, Dawn told the Leicester Mercury:

“I am still haunted by the events of that day. I’m just incredibly relieved that I will now have access to the best rehabilitative care and support that I need to overcome the daily challenges I face because of my injuries. I used to love walking in the countryside and long bike rides, but those things are completely out of my reach now, and that in itself has been very difficult to accept.”

Read More

Personal Injury Claims in Northern Ireland Could be Settled Online

April 22, 2016

According to one of the province´s top judges, “small value” personal injury claims in Northern Ireland could be settled online in the future.

Lord Justice John Gillen – one of Northern Ireland´s three Lord Justices of Appeal – has indicated that significant changes are on the way to the province´s court system, including the possibility of personal injury claims in Northern Ireland being settled over the Internet.

Speaking at the British Irish Bar Association Conference at the Bar Library´s Inn of Court, the judge said he is considering a proposal similar to the process followed in the Netherlands where small value claims are settled online without arguments being heard in court.

If the proposal is adopted, Judge Gillen believes that personal injury claims in Northern Ireland could be settled without the need for expert witnesses “to sit around for hours in drafty courthouses” waiting to be called – thus reducing the costs of legal action.

The judge was particularly critical of case management hearings – in which judges, lawyers and expert witnesses may have to return to court several times to resolve issues even before a case can be listed for a full hearing. These hearings, Judge Gillen said, could be conducted over a video-link at an appointed time to reduce costs further.

Further cost reductions could be achieved the judge said if “matters [were] dealt with by court officers rather than rather more costly judges”. He added that Northern Ireland must explore such options if it is to uphold the “constitutional principle of due process (which) requires us to utilise new technology”.

Judge Gillen explained that many personal injury claims in Northern Ireland would still be settled by court hearings. He told delegates at the British Irish Bar Association Conference: “Legislation will always be with us and will always involve costs. There will be oral hearings, the oral tradition will not disappear here in Northern Ireland.”

Read More

Solicitors Claim for Child Passenger Injuries Allegedly Caused by Mother´s Negligence

March 24, 2016

Solicitors acting on behalf of a four-year-old girl have made a claim for child passenger injuries against her deceased mother´s car insurance company.

Cora-Lynn Kelley-Mattock from Aberporth in Cardigan was just two years of age when, on 26th December 2013, her nineteen-year-old mother – Josephine – crashed the family VW Polo into a wall on the A484 in Llandygwydd near Ceredigion.

Josephine died from her injuries three days later, while Cora-Lynn suffered a severe traumatic head injury that has left her with brain damage and life-long disabilities. Cora-Lynn also suffered internal injuries and damaged one eye in the accident which affects her sight.

Coroner Peter Brunton issued a verdict of death by misadventure when an inquest into Josephine´s death was held in June 2014. The coroner concluded that Josephine might have been distracted by her daughter or been trying to avoid another vehicle when she crashed.

However, solicitors acting on Cora-Lynn´s behalf believe that Josephine may have acted negligently prior to the crash and have made a claim for child passenger injuries against Josephine´s estate and her car insurance company.

The solicitors allege in the claim for child passenger injuries that Josephine was driving too fast for the wet conditions and that she had failed to properly strap Cora-Lynn into her back seat child seat. Cora-Lynn was found suspended by the waist belt of the child seat, implying – the solicitors claim – that her upper body had not been restrained by the shoulder straps.

Josephine´s estate and the car insurance company are contesting the claim for child passenger injuries. A spokesperson said that, although the facts of the accident were not disputed, Cora-Lynn´s solicitors will be required to prove that her mother was negligent – either through causing the crash through a lack of care or through the failure to strap Cora-Lynn properly into her child seat.

Read More

Liability Admitted in Claim for a Cycling Accident in France

February 29, 2016

The insurers of a French motorist have admitted their client´s liability in a claim for a cycling accident in France made by a man from the West Midlands.

In August 2015, Christopher Brody (47) from Sutton Coldfield was enjoying a week´s vacation with his wife and two sons in Brittany, when he was hit by a camper van while on a cycling tour. Because of the way he fell, Christopher was dragged underneath the camper van and suffered horrific injuries.

Christopher was taken to hospital in Brest, where he underwent surgery for a fractured pelvis and was treated for nine broken ribs, a fractured right wrist, a cracked vertebrae and cuts across his body. While in hospital, Christopher developed an infection in his right forearm and displayed symptoms of a psychological trauma.

In September, Christopher was air-lifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he underwent a second operation on his fractured pelvis. He was discharged after five weeks, but returns regularly for ongoing treatment and rehabilitation therapy. Christopher has been unable to work since his accident.

After seeking legal advice, Christopher made a claim for a cycling accident in France against the driver of the camper van that ran him over. Mutuelle de Poitiers, the French insurers of the negligent driver has admitted liability for the accident and negotiations have started to secure Christopher sufficient compensation to pay for his continuing physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Speaking about his claim for a cycling accident in France, Christopher said: “The accident just happened so quickly. One minute I was cycling along the road, the next I was being dragged along the road by a vehicle that had struck me from behind. I have been signed off work for six months and have been forced to completely change my living arrangements at home due to my injuries. I know I face a long road to recovery and a prolonged spell of physiotherapy.”

Read More

Translink Accident Compensation Almost £2 Million in Five Years

February 10, 2016

The amount of Translink accident compensation paid out by Northern Ireland´s public transport company has been described as “horrendous” by politicians.

Details of how much Translink accident compensation was paid out between April 2010 and April 2015 were released by Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen in response to an Assembly question from SDLP MLA John Dallat.

The figure of £1,948,000 Translink accident compensation consisted of £1,647,000 injury compensation paid to claimants who had been injured on the province´s Ulsterbus, Citybus and Metro vehicles, plus a further £301,000 compensation for material damage.

Mr Dallat – who sits on Stormont’s regional development committee – commented that the amount of Translink accident compensation was “horrendous” and added: “The board would need to review its policy on defending claims and strategy for avoiding situations which lead to payouts.”

The figures relating to Translink accident compensation come just months after unions warned that budget cuts were having a “devastating impact” on public safety and the worst trading losses (£8.4 million) in the company´s history were announced.

A Translink spokesperson said: “It is important to put some context around these figures which cover a five-year period. The level of compensation paid out is less than 0.5% of our annual revenue, and more importantly, Translink’s annual level of compensation is also amongst the lowest paid out when benchmarked against other UK operators”.

He continued by saying “We carry around 80 million passenger journeys every year and their safety is a top priority for everyone at Translink. We are committed to maintaining our high safety standards across the business and have comprehensive procedures in place to fully and thoroughly investigate all claims.”

Read More

Settlement of Lorry Crash Injury Compensation Approved in Court

January 28, 2016

A €750,000 settlement of lorry crash injury compensation has been approved at the High Court in Dublin in favour of a brain damaged twenty-five year old man.

Francis Smith was just eighteen years of age when – on January 27, 2009 – he crashed into the back of a stationary council lorry while taking evasive action to avoid hitting a car on the outskirts of Edgeworthstown in County Longford.

The council lorry had been parked close to where Longford County Council was conducting roadworks just beyond a bend on the southbound carriageway, and Francis was unlikely to have seen the lorry as he came around the bend and saw a car heading towards him.

Neither of Francis´ two passengers were injured in the accident, but Francis sustained a traumatic brain injury. As a result he suffers from physical and cognitive difficulties that have prevented him from leading an independent life or maintaining his job in a local factory.

On her son´s behalf, Francis´ mother claimed a settlement of lorry crash injury compensation from Longford County Council. She alleged in the claim that the lorry was parked so far out into the carriageway that it created a hazard for motorists and that there were no warning signs erected by the council to advise of the roadworks.

Longford County Council denied that it was responsible for Francis´ accident and injury, and argued that Francis had been negligent by taking the bend at an excessive speed. Eventually the two parties agreed on a €750,000 settlement of lorry crash injury compensation; but, as the claim had been made on behalf of somebody unable to represent themselves, the settlement went to the High Court to be approved by a judge.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the accident and the impact it had on Francis´ life. Judge Cross approved the settlement of lorry crash injury compensation, noting that it represented 25% of the claim´s full value, and saying that it was a good settlement in the circumstances. The judge closed the approval hearing by wishing Francis all the best for the future.

Read More

Compensation Claim for Fatal Head-On Crash Resolved at Hearing

November 19, 2015

A compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash has been resolved at the High Court in Belfast after a hearing to resolve a dispute about liability.

In August 2010, Leslie Browne from County Down in Northern Ireland died from injuries he had sustained in a head-on crash the month earlier. The accident had occurred on a stretch of the B8 between Hilltown and Newry when a driver heading in the opposite direction had lost control of her car on a sharp bend and crashed into the Browne´s car.

Leslie´s widow – Elizabeth – made a compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash against the driver of the car – Sandra Murray – alleging that she had been driving without due care and attention, and too fast for the wet road conditions. Murray denied that she had caused the accident due to inattentiveness, and alleged that her Toyota Yaris had been hit from behind by another car driven by Michal Marczak.

Marczak admitted that he had been driving his Fiat Punto close to Murray´s car, but denied that there had been any contact between the two vehicles. A value of Elizabeth´s compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash was assessed at £50,000 but, before the claim could be resolved, the dispute over liability had to be determined.

Consequently the compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash was heard by Mr Justice Stephens at Belfast Crown Court. Judge Stephens heard that there was no evidence to suggest that Murray´s car had been hit from behind by Marczak´s Fiat Punto and that her loss of control was likely due to her braking excessively on the crown of the bend after realising she was travelling too fast.

The judge ruled that Murray was solely responsible for causing the accident in which Leslie died and said that there was no reason to consider Marczak at fault. He commented “I consider that it reflects the fact that the first defendant did not and does not know what happened so that she grasped at anything that might exonerate her.”

Mr Justice Stephens confirmed the settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal head-on crash and awarded Elizabeth and Marczak their legal fees.

Read More