A Ralli Ltd Personal Injury Study

My Client: “Steve” (name changed), an Electrician from Middleton.

Claim: Road Traffic Accident Claim for personal injury (whiplash), out-of-pocket expenses and legal costs

Defendant insurers: Hastings

Outcome: full compensation paid after a judge valued the claim at a Stage 3 hearing, together with expenses and legal costs

So what Happened?

Steve was driving his Peugeot 306 home from work when he was involved in a road traffic accident.

He was established on the highway travelling along Church Lane when a third party failed to give way, pulled from a side street and collided with the front passenger side of his car, shunting it across the road . Steve was extremely shocked and upset. He exchanged details with the other driver, and managed to get his car home although damaged.

Steve woke up the next day with shoulder and lower back pain. He attended his local Walk in Centre and following that saw his GP three times for prescriptions for Co-Codamol, an anti-inflammatory painkillers.

His car needed repairing and a new passenger door fitting.

Steve contacted Ralli Ltd for help with his road traffic accident claim.

So what did we do?

Steve spoke with me about bringing a claim. I am a Litigation Executive here at Ralli Ltd with many years experience in dealing with these types of claims.

I advised Steve that, on his version of events, he had a good claim for compensation and I agreed to act for him in this matter.

As such I followed the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents. This is because Steve’s road traffic accident was after 30 April 2010. The Protocol has 3 stages:

Stage 1

This is where the Claimant’s solicitor files a Claim Notification Form and the other driver’s insurer responds.

Stage 2

This stage involves obtaining evidence to support the compensation claim, negotiations, and settlement if possible.

Stage 3

This is laid out in the Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction 8B. It involves issuing proceedings, filing evidence at court, and getting a judge to value the claim.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 Work

In Stage 1 I sent a Claim Notification Form to the other driver’s insurers via the online portal for road traffic accidents. This provided initial details of Steve’s claim and put the other driver’s insurers on notice.

Steve’s insurers dealt with his vehicle repairs and he was provided with a courtesy car whilst this was being done.  His insurers will look to recover their costs from the third party insurer so Steve was not out of pocket.

I also arranged for a local medical expert to consider Steve’s potential claim for personal injuries. The doctor prepared a written report. It confirmed that Steve suffered whiplash type injuries to his shoulders, and lower back. The doctor anticipated a full recovery within 8 – 12 months of the accident providing he had Physiotherapy treatment which I subsequently arranged for him.

Settlement Negotiations

Steve approved the medical report and agreed with the doctor’s prognosis. He gave me details of his out-of-pocket expenses. I then filed the Stage 2 settlement pack which included all the necessary evidence to support Steve’s claim. I began settlement negotiations with the other driver’s insurers.

Unfortunately, the insurers made a low offer of £2,250, which they later increased to only £2,500.

I discussed the offer with Steve. I advised that the whiplash claim alone was worth at least £2,750 and recommended that Steve reject the £2,500 offer. He agreed.

The insurers refused to increase their offer and Steve authorised court proceedings so that a Judge could decide on the proper value for his claim.

Stage 3 Court Proceedings

I prepared the court pleadings and issued proceedings in Manchester County Court. I explained in the papers that he was using the modified Part 8 Stage 3 procedure. This is a way of fast-tracking the court process in road traffic accidents. I told the court that I wanted an oral Stage 3 hearing instead of one where the judge would review the case on the papers alone. I wanted to instruct a Barrister to make representations before the court. This would give my client the best chance of getting the compensation he deserved.

Meanwhile, as they are required to do under the Protocol, the insurers sent a cheque for their maximum offer by way of interim payment.

To avoid the matter going to court I again invited the insurers to increase their offer. They refused, so I scheduled a hearing before a District Judge to argue Steve’s case.

Steve was not required to attend.

County Court Hearing

I instructed I Barrister to represent Steve at the Stage 3 hearing. The other driver’s insurers also sent a barrister who said that their offer was reasonable. Our Barrister argued that it was too low and sought full compensation for my client.

The District Judge agreed.

He awarded Steve £3,000.00 for his injuries and an extra amount for his out-of-pocket expenses. The judge ordered the insurers to pay Steve the extra £500 and his Stage 3 oral hearing costs in full.

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