Client: “Paul” (name changed), an office worker from Manchester
Defendant insurers: Direct Line
Outcome: full compensation paid after a judge valued the claim at a Stage 3 hearing, together with expenses and legal costs
Paul was driving his Ford Focus to work when he was involved in a road traffic accident.
He was stationary at the head of a roundabout. A Renault Megane collided with the rear of his car, pushing it forward. Paul was shocked and upset. He exchanged details with the other driver, and managed to get his car to work.
After a sleepless night Paul got up the next day with neck pain. He saw his GP twice for prescriptions for ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory painkiller.
His car needed a new rear bumper assembly and repairs and painting to the rear panel.
What We Did
Paul spoke with Kevin Donoghue about bringing a claim. Kevin is well qualified to help. He is:
- a solicitor
- an accredited expert on the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel, and
- a Senior Litigator with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
He advised Paul that, on his version of events, he had a good claim for compensation. Kevin agreed to act and took full details.
Mr Donoghue followed the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents. This is because Paul’s road traffic accident was after 30 April 2010. The Protocol has 3 stages:
This is where the Claimant’s solicitor files a Claim Notification Form and the other driver’s insurer responds.
This stage involves obtaining evidence to support the compensation claim, negotiations, and settlement if possible.
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 Kevin sent a Claim Notification Form to the other driver’s insurers via the online portal for road traffic accidents. This provided initial details of Paul’s claim and put the other driver’s insurers on notice.
Kevin arranged for an expert engineer to inspect Paul’s vehicle to help prove the claim for vehicle damage. The engineer confirmed that the accident damaged the back of Paul’s car. It needed a new rear bumper, repairs to the rear panel and boot floor, and other work. Kevin arranged the vehicle repairs and a replacement hire car while Paul’s car was off the road.
The insurers initially responded to the Claim Notification Form by saying that there was no damage to either vehicle. But after reviewing the independent engineer’s report they accepted they were wrong. Kevin got the other driver’s insurers to pay for the repairs and hire car so Paul was not out-of-pocket.
Mr Donoghue also arranged for a local medical expert to consider Paul’s potential claim for personal injuries. The doctor prepared a written report. It confirmed that Paul suffered “whiplash” injuries to his neck, shoulders, and back. The doctor anticipated a full recovery within 4-6 months of the accident.
Paul approved the medical report and agreed with the doctor’s prognosis. He gave Kevin details of his out-of-pocket expenses. Kevin then filed the Stage 2 “settlement pack” which included all the necessary evidence to support Paul’s claim. He began settlement negotiations with the other driver’s insurers.
Unfortunately, the insurers made a low offer of £1200, which they later increased to only £1300.
Kevin discussed the offer with Paul. He advised that the whiplash claim alone was worth at least £1500. Kevin recommended that Paul reject the £1300 offer. He agreed.
The insurers refused to increase their offer. Paul authorised court proceedings so that a judge could decide on the proper value for his claim.
Stage 3 Court Proceedings
Kevin Donoghue prepared the court pleadings and issued proceedings in Liverpool County Court. He 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. He told the court that he wanted an oral Stage 3 hearing instead of one where the judge would review the case on the papers alone. Kevin wanted to make representations before the court. This would give his 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 Mr. Donoghue again invited the insurers to increase their offer. They refused, so Kevin scheduled a hearing before a District Judge to argue Paul’s case.
Paul was not required to attend.
County Court Hearing
Kevin Donoghue represented Paul at the Stage 3 hearing. The other driver’s insurers sent a barrister who said that their offer was reasonable. Kevin argued that it was “below the radar” and sought full compensation for his client.
The District Judge agreed.
He awarded Paul £1500 for his injuries and an extra amount for his out-of-pocket expenses. The judge ordered the insurers to pay Paul the extra £200 and his Stage 3 oral hearing costs in full.
Paul was glad that:
- he took Kevin’s advice to reject the insurer’s best offer and take his case to court.
- a District Judge fully considered his claim and properly valued it. Paul now knew precisely what his accident claim was worth.
- he did not have to go to court or give evidence, relying on his solicitor to speak on his behalf instead at the Stage 3 oral hearing.
For help with your road traffic accident claim contact Donoghue Solicitors on 08000 124 246 or complete the contact form.