Jason Claridge, Personal Injury Lawyer and Director at Ward & Rider Solicitors Ltd, said as follows:
I recently took over a matter from another firm of solicitors. My client was involved in a horrible accident. He was a young man with an infant son at the time of the accident. He was riding a motorcycle. As he was travelling to work an individual driving a car in the opposite direction turned right across his path.
He was knocked from his motorcycle and he describes how he vividly recalls the accident almost happening in slow motion. He told me at the first interview that he tried to run in mid air to try and cushion the blow. He said his right foot lightly touched the tarmac first and then he crashed forward, taking the brunt of the impact on his left knee and lower left leg before twisting and landing on his back.
After the accident his major concern was to make sure that his wife and young son were not alarmed. The emergency services were called and he was taken to his local hospital. As a result of this accident he suffered damage to his left ankle, a fracture of his shin bone and damage to his knee. He also suffered a minor whiplash-type injury to his neck. In addition he caused further damage to a vulnerable tooth which already had a crown and was cracked and for which he had been receiving treatment. Understandably, he also suffered psychological trauma.
He was off work for several weeks. He contacted a company that he had seen advertised on the television. They advised him that they felt the claim was worth about £8,500. His wife felt that valuation was not appropriate and after speaking to a friend I was recommended to speak to him about his personal injury claim. He agreed after I spoke to him that the compensation figure suggested by the other law firm was too low and that he would want to instruct me to take over the matter.
I agreed with him that I would notify the individual responsible for this accident of his potential claim. His insurers admitted liability promptly. We then arranged for medical evidence from (a) a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, (b) a Psychologist and (c) a Dental Surgeon.
The Orthopaedic Surgeon advised that he had suffered a nasty fracture and that the time he had taken off work was appropriate. He would need the metal plates removed, which duly happened, and that led to further time off work. He confirmed that the client would struggle with heavier household chores in the immediate aftermath of the accident and for some months afterwards. He would also be at risk on the open labour market because he undertook a job as a plasterer which was demanding work. If he decided to move job a potential employer might take the view that he was the sort of individual who is likely to take time off work as a consequence of his injuries.
The Psychologist found that as a consequence of the accident my client was suffering from a specific phobia about riding motorcycles. He took the view that he did not want to suffer the risk of another horrible injury with potentially even more life-changing consequences. He therefore bought a car and drove that. Our argument was that our client would have ridden his motorcycle to and from work as a cost effective means of transportation.
The Dentist saw my client and took the view that the trauma caused by the accident, and in particular him being shaken and jarred by such hard impact, would have caused further and additional damage to his vulnerable tooth. We therefore claimed for treatment to his tooth which was expensive.
We disclosed to the insurers acting for the defendant the reports from the Orthopaedic Surgeon, the Psychologist and the Dental Surgeon. We supplied them with medical records and his employment records. We produced a schedule which set out the following:
1) A claim for help and assistance with heavier chores around the house as a consequence of his injuries.
2) A claim for loss of earnings for when he was off work for the initial period following the accident and for the period following the removal of metalwork from his leg.
3) Dental costs.
4) The increased cost of transportation as a result of him not being able to ride his motorcycle any longer.
The defendant’s insurers firstly made an offer of £30,000 which we rejected. We valued my client’s claim at £70,000 and therefore made an offer to the defendant’s representatives for that figure. The insurers acting for the defendant refused to increase the offer and consequently we issued court proceedings to further pursue his compensation claim.
Solicitors were instructed by the insurers and they increased the offer made from £30,000 to £50,000 in full and final settlement of the case. I attended upon the client at his home in the presence of his wife. He had clearly made an improvement and had made a better than expected recovery in terms of his orthopaedic injuries. He was still not willing to ride a motorcycle and indeed he was not even willing to ride a bicycle in his local park with his family. He felt he was fine at work and apart from some very heavy jobs at home which occasionally occur he could do more or less what he wanted. He was deeply upset that he could no longer run especially as his family had expanded and both of his children were now able to walk.
We therefore rejected the offer of £50,000. We made a counter offer of £65,000. The solicitors acting for the defendants said that they would speak to their client, which they did. They said that they would make an increase of £2,500, taking the sum offered to £52,500. After this they wanted my client to see their own expert. My client told me that the sum was life changing for him. It would help pay off a substantial part of his mortgage. He therefore instructed me to accept the offer of £52,500 for his injuries and financial losses, which I duly did.
I think his story shows how firstly you should always fully investigate a claim. His previous solicitor had looked at purely his injuries as opposed to his injuries and financial losses. Secondly, it shows that on occasions there is a long hard battle to get the compensation that an injured person deserves.
Ward & Rider Solicitors act in respect of all types of personal injury matters irrespective of their value. They will also pursue claims against Doctors, Nurses and Dentists. We act on a No Win No Fee basis. We have 21 specialist Personal Injury lawyers. Please feel free to contact us on 024 7655 5400 or contact us via our website at www.wardandrider.com.