Case handler: Christopher Lecky (Solicitor)
In this case, our client was a passenger in a vehicle which was involved in a head on collision with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.
As a result of the accident, our client sustained a range of serious injuries including:
- Wedge fractures (when the bony block or vertebral body in the spine collapses) to his spine at T11 and T12 with loss of vertebral height;
- Displaced fracture of right knee joint;
- Knee ligament injury.
Key elements of our client’s case
The insurance position of the driver (1st Defendant) was unclear. There was a policy of insurance in place for the vehicle via a motor trader but it was unclear if the policy was valid for the driver.
Our client submitted a claim to the prospective insurer of the 1st Defendant. They denied insurance coverage on the basis that their policy holder allegedly sold the vehicle prior to the accident.
The case was therefore redirected to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) in accordance with the Uninsured Drivers Agreement and they duly accepted the case. They instructed one of their panel solicitors to deal with the case on their behalf.
A detailed witness statement was prepared for the client and disclosed to the 2nd Defendant (the MIB).
In order to put together evidence on the nature and extent of our client’s injuries, we instructed an Orthopaedic Surgeon to arrange an examination of our client. His report suggested that our client’s back fractures should have been healed within 2 years and attributed only a few months recovery to the knee injury. He also suggested that our client’s ongoing back pain was due to muscular issues and not the fractures. He did not therefore attribute any ongoing pain to the accident injuries and did not consider that the fracture site would cause any early degenerative changes in our client’s back and that our client was not at any disadvantage on the open labour market.
Where our specialist serious injury experience really added value to our client’s situation
Formal court proceedings were ultimately required in this case.
A barrister was instructed to join the legal team to assess both complex issues relating to liability and the value of our client’s claim in advance of starting the Court process.
A meeting was also arranged between our client, the medical expert and the barrister where various issues were addressed in respect of the expert evidence, our client’s evidence and the issue of liability.
The 1st Defendant could not be located for the purpose of service of the legal proceedings. Enquiries were made with a private detective to arrange personal service of the legal proceedings, however this attempt failed due to the 1st Defendant no longer living at the last known address. We ensured that the 2nd Defendant was kept aware of the issues faced in serving proceedings on the 1st Defendant.
Service was appropriately complied with by sending the proceedings to the address provided to the Police at the time the Defendant had been arrested in connection with the accident. Utilising tracing services, we were able to confirm that close relatives of the 1st Defendant still resided at this property.
In the absence of the 1st Defendant filing an Acknowledgement of Service or Defence, a Request for Judgment was filed, and the 2nd Defendant requested an extension of time for service of the Defence. This was agreed. In their defence, the 2nd Defendant advised that they believed there were substantial issues for the Claimant to overcome in relation to liability, contributory negligence, causation and mitigation. They highlighted that our client acknowledged that he was not wearing a seatbelt.
Based on the medical evidence served with the legal proceedings and without prejudice to the arguments on liability, the 2nd Defendant put forward an offer to settle in a five figure sum.
After careful consideration of the offer, our client accepted the offer and this was then documented in a court order signed by the parties.