Car accident claim – insurers back down just before trial

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Case study of a disputed car accident where the defendant’s insurance company backed down before trial

Our client was the victim of a car accident. He was driving along a country lane when he was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.

As a result of the car accident our client suffered personal injury and financial loss.

We were appointed to pursue a compensation claim on his behalf. We agreed to deal with the case on a No Win – No Fee basis.

We undertook investigations into the cause of the accident and entered into correspondence with the Defendant’s insurers.

However, the insurers denied liability. They also challenged the amount of compensation that was being sought.

In view of the dispute and the fact that the limitation date was fast approaching it was necessary for us to issue proceedings in court to protect the Claimant’s position.

Because our client had sustained injury we were required to obtain a medical report. We therefore arranged for a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon to conduct a medical examination. The resulting medical report from the Consultant confirmed that the Claimant had sustained soft tissue injuries to his neck, back and shoulder in the car accident.

In the meantime the insurers continued to maintain their denial of liability. They challenged the Claimant to prove that the accident was their insured’s fault. Because of the dispute over liability the court imposed a timetable setting out the procedural steps which both parties had to take in readiness for a trial. This included the exchange of key documents and witness statements.

Trials are however very expensive and it is not uncommon for insurers to back down as the trial date looms, particularly if they have doubts about their own case and think they might have to foot the bill.

It was therefore no surprise to us when the defendant’s insurers contacted us in this case with their settlement proposals prior to trial. The insurance company initially made what is known as a ‘Part 36 offer’ to apportion liability on a 50/50 basis. If accepted it would have reduced the value of our client’s claim by half. Accordingly the offer was rejected.

Negotiations nevertheless continued and eventually a satisfactory settlement was reached out of court which provided for our client to be compensated for his injuries and other financial losses.

This case study is fairly typical of the insurance industry’s tendency to dispute injury claims when they are initially made and then back down when they see that the claimant’s solicitors are serious about pursuing the case and are prepared to go to trial if necessary.

It is likely that insurance companies save enormous sums of money by adopting this policy on the basis that not all solicitors are as tenacious as we are and as a result a proportion of claims are abandoned.

We take a firm line with insurers who unreasonably refuse to settle claims and will take such cases to trial where we have to.

So, if you have been the victim of an accident and want to appoint tenacious solicitors who are prepared to fight your case then look no further. Call Slee Blackwell’s personal injury team on 0808 139 1606 or send us an email with details of your case and we will provide you with an assessment free of charge.