Ms F* had previously instructed Jason Claridge, solicitor and personal injury specialist and Director at Ward & Rider Solicitors, in relation to a personal injury claim around 10 years ago. She had therefore previously suffered orthopaedic and psychological injuries.
Various studies have shown that potentially an individual may have up to three different accidents in their lifetime whereby they could legitimately bring a personal injury claim.
Ms F suffered another accident about 10 years after the settlement of her last claim. She had been to visit her friends in the East Midlands. She had stayed overnight and was on her way home in the morning. What should have been an innocuous journey turned out to be anything but.
She had come to the end of a road where a junction had give way signs displayed. As she approached the junction the defendant in his motor vehicle turned right at some speed. He was not in control of his vehicle and struck the car of Ms F who was correctly positioned on her side of the road. The resulting road accident was traumatic. This is demonstrated by photos both parties had taken on their mobile phones.
Details were exchanged and the defendant, who we allege was responsible for the accident, left the scene quickly. Ms F, who is the claimant in the case, was not so lucky. She immediately recognised the physical symptoms of an orthopaedic injury commonly referred to as a whiplash injury, having had such injuries in the past. Furthermore, her vehicle was not roadworthy. A local man approached her and explained that he had seen and heard the accident and that he had also seen the driver of the other vehicle who was a young man travelling quickly and recklessly in his car prior to the accident.
Ms F initially tried to self medicate, having recognised the symptoms that she had previously suffered in her last road traffic accident. As she was not getting better a few weeks after the accident she attended upon her general practitioner to seek treatment.
We notified the insurance company acting for the other driver of the claim. They disputed that their client was responsible for this road traffic accident. He had told them that he had been travelling in a normal way and that Ms F was on the wrong side of the road when the accident occurred.
We took a statement from the witness who confirmed what he had said to her at the time of the initial discussion with her following this accident. We sent this to the other party’s insurers but they still disputed liability.
We therefore issued proceedings to advance the matter towards a trial. We made sure that the client saw a medical expert in relation to a whiplash injury. We also made sure that she saw a psychologist in relation to her psychological injuries.
The medical expert in respect of her whiplash injury felt that she would have symptoms for 2 years. The psychologist was the individual we had used in her previous claim and he took the view that she had suffered travel anxiety, an adjustment disorder and issues in terms of her mood. He recommended treatment. He also advised that due to the trauma of this accident and the previous accident she would be at a disadvantage on the open labour market in that she should not try to undertake work which involved driving in the course of her job.
This was important because she had previously worked in positions whereby she would travel to see clients. Her current role involved some time driving but nowhere near as much as it had done. Furthermore she was not the individual who was driving and that greatly assisted her. Following this accident she avoided taking her family on trips within the UK, whereas this was something she would have been fine doing before.
Therefore her claim in respect of her personal injury was the whiplash injury that she suffered and the psychological injury that she suffered. There were also some travel expenses for her attending upon her general practitioner and medication costs. We also claimed for her needing future psychological treatment taken in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy.
In addition we advanced the claim for her needing help and assistance from her family in the initial stages when she had acute symptoms from a whiplash injury in relation to housework, shopping, DIY and dog walking.
We also advanced a claim for her being at a potential disadvantage on the open labour market. We said that realistically, as a result of COVID-19, Ms F faced the possibility of losing her employment. Had this accident not have occurred it would have been open to her to return to the type of roles that she had previously been employed to do and that would include driving as part and parcel of those roles. However, now she could not face that as a result of the psychological injuries which have been caused by this accident. In short, she felt too frightened to be driving regularly on the UK roads due to this traumatic accident.
There were a number of offers and counter-offers by the legal representatives of the claimant and defendant in relation to this matter. The claim achieved a compromise of £24,000 in relation to a settlement of compensation for Ms F’s personal injuries and consequential financial losses. Although the representatives for the defendant did not break down the individual amounts, the figure involved clearly suggested that Ms F’s arguments in relation to her injuries and financial losses, including her being at a disadvantage on the open labour market, were successful.
We acted for Ms F under a no win, no fee agreement. We are able to assist and advise on claims arising out of road traffic accidents, work place accidents, slipping and tripping claims, and claims against the medical profession on a no win, no fee basis, commonly known as a conditional fee agreement.
*Ms F’s name has been changed but these are indeed the facts of her case.