Mrs B was driving along a road in Knutton Staffordshire as she indicated, stopped and waited to turn right into a side road a vehicle exiting the side road pulled out and attempted to turn right onto the main road and collided with her vehicle. As a result of this road traffic collision Mrs B suffered personal injury to her neck.
Mrs B wanted to claim personal injury compensation so searched the internet and chose Hayward Baker personal Injury Solicitors as the firm she wished to instruct and pursue her claim for personal injury compensation.
Once Hayward Baker solicitors had discussed the accident circumstances with Mrs B and were satisfied that she had a case, that she fully understood what was involved in making a claim and that she was happy to proceed they sent out the relevant paperwork for her to sign and return.
Once the paperwork was received by Hayward Baker they made the claim by posting the Claims Notification Form (CNF) to the other drivers (Other party or defendant) insurers via the on-line low value personal injury portal.
Mrs B was informed that as the current estimated value of her claim is under £25,000, her claim is running under a scheme known as the “Pre-action Protocol for low value personal injury claims”.
Mrs B was further informed that the other party now have 15 working days to respond to the form. If the other party fails to respond within the time limit, denies liability, alleges that her claim is worth less than £1,000.00 or makes an admission of liability with an allegation of contributory negligence (argument that Mrs B is partially responsible), then her claim will exit this scheme. If this occurs then her solicitor will notify her at that stage advising him how best to proceed with her claim.
If the other party admits liability for Mrs B’s accident, within the time limit, then her claim will proceed under the above scheme and the next step will be to obtain medical evidence to substantiate the injuries that she sustained in the accident.
The medical evidence will enable her solicitor to demonstrate those injuries that she sustained in the accident and it would be helpful if she could provide her solicitor with a written update in relation to her current symptoms. Mrs B was asked to confirm the following:
- does she still suffer symptoms as a result of the accident,
- if so, what are these symptoms,
- is she still having treatment at hospital or with her GP
- Is she still taking medication
When the initial paperwork was sent out for Mrs B to sign she was sent a copy of Hayward Baker Solicitors ‘Out of Pocket Expenses Questionnaire’. She was asked to complete and return this as soon as possible and if she had any ongoing losses then she was to keep a record of these and to keep any receipts or damaged items.
Four days after the defendant insurers were notified of the claim they sent a letter to wayward Baker Solicitors stating that liability had been admitted.
Mrs B was informed immediately by letter and her solicitor explained that as liability was not in dispute then this means that provided that the medical report confirms she was injured as a result of the accident, they have agreed to pay her compensation, and her solicitor will of course discuss with her the level of compensation after receipt of the medical report.
Her solicitor will now take steps to arrange for her to be examined by a medical expert. The medical evidence will enable them to demonstrate those injuries that she sustained in the accident and it would be helpful if she could please provide her solicitor with a written update in relation to her current symptoms.She was asked to confirm the following:
- Do you still suffer symptoms as a result of the accident?
- If so, what are those symptoms?
- Are you still having treatment at the hospital or with you GP?
- Are you still taking any medication?
Once her solicitor has received her response, they will be better placed to assess whether it is the appropriate time to arrange the appointment.
In addition, Mrs B was informed that the insurers have advised they are willing to provide her with private rehabilitation treatment. Mrs B was asked to confirm if she wished to take advantage of their offer.
Around a week later the defendant insurers confirmed that they were nominating a firm of solicitors to act on their behalf if proceedings were to be issued.
Mrs B had now confirmed that she was still suffering from her injuries which was pain and stiffness in her neck and the accident had knocker her confidence as a driver. She was using off the shelf drugs from the chemist for the pain relief. Mrs B also confirmed that she would like to take the offer of rehabilitation from the insurers which in this case would be physiotherapy treatment. her solicitors informed the insurers of this.
Mrs B’s solicitor was now arranging for a medical appointment for her with a medical expert and should she receive an appointment letter she realises she has previously seen the Doctor for treatment either on the NHS or privately, she was to let her solicitor know immediately. The appointment may need to be cancelled as it might not be appropriate for a Doctor who has previously treated her to author the medical report.
It was not long and the appointment date came though and the details of the appointment were sent to Mrs B by her solicitor. She was asked to confirm whether she was able to attend on the said date. She was advised that attending the medical examination, that the expert will be asking her questions on the following: –
- Details of all injuries suffered and their immediate affects upon every aspect of her life;
- What treatment she has been given in relation to each injury and what treatment she is presently undergoing and have been advised that she might need in the future;
- Details of any continuing disability and the affect that this has upon her home life, employment, hobbies or pastimes etc that she enjoyed prior to the accident.
She may also find it helpful to prepare a handwritten note commenting on each of these questions to pass to the expert at the examination. This will ensure that all matters that she is likely to want to be dealt with are covered in the report. Mrs B was reminded to let her solicitor have details of her travelling expenses for attending with receipts wherever possible and her solicitor will attempt to recover these for her. When Mrs B does attend her appointment she should take some form of identification with her, such as a driver’s licence or passport to prove her identity to the medical expert.
Mrs B subsequently attended her appointment and once the medical expert had formulated his report it was sent to Hayward Baker Solicitors. On receipt of the medical report the solicitor dealing with Mrs B’s case read the report thoroughly to ensure it was compliant and then sent a copy of the report to Mrs B with a letter stating that the injuries that Mrs B had sustained were as a result of the accident. She was informed that her injuries according to the medical expert should fully resolve with ten months. Mrs B was asked that she needed to make a decision as to disclose the report to the third party insurers at this stage and invite settlement offers or, if she is concerned that her recovery will be longer than the expert’s prognosis, she may wish to wait and see how she progresses over the coming months with the possibility of obtaining a further report once the estimated recovery period has expired.
If Mrs B is satisfied that the report is accurate and includes all matters that she wished to be considered or she can confirm any specific reasons why the report should not be approved would she please complete the enclosed confirmation accordingly and then sign and return this to her solicitor.
If she wished to wait for the prognosis period to expire, her solicitor would make a request for an interim payment of £1,000 to be paid to Mrs B at this stage of the claim. This would be a payment on account of the compensation it is anticipated she will ultimately receive. When a final award of compensation has been agreed, or made by the court, the amount of this interim payment and any other interim payments that may be made, will be deducted from that total when the final sum due is paid.
Her solicitor also enclosed an employer’s authority form as they had noted that she had suffered 3 days lost earnings as a result of the accident. If she wished her solicitor to consider this loss, she was asked to complete and return the attached authority form. Her solicitor would then write to her employers and request her earnings information. Or alternatively, Mrs B could supply her solicitor with her wage slips for the 13 week period prior to the accident. These payslips would be used to calculate Mrs B’s loss of earnings for the 3 days she wasn’t paid when absent from work.
Mrs B had an assessment with a rehabilitation expert and it was recommended that she had at least 8 sessions of physiotherapy for her neck injury.
Mrs B now confirmed that she wanted to try and settle her claim now on the basis of the medical experts report and therefore sent the signed authority to her solicitor so they could disclose the report to the insurers. She also confirmed that although she had 3 days off from work due to her injuries caused by the road traffic accident her employers still paid her in full so there was no claim for loss of earnings.
The appointments were confirmed for the 8 sessions of physiotherapy which Mrs B attended. Also her solicitors had written to her regarding disclosing the claim to the insurers and what they estimated would be the compensation figure. For her pain and suffering and loss of amenity she was advised that the Court will award compensation to reflect pain, suffering and loss of amenity resulting from the injuries. The award of compensation is sometimes termed ‘General Damages’.
The assessment of compensation by the court will be made, to a large extent, on the medical evidence. That assessment will be based on this, Mrs B’s, individual case, as each claim is unique. Nevertheless, some guidance on the appropriate level of compensation can be obtained from previous cases and guidelines and that enables an estimate to be made of the likely award if the matter had to be decided by the Court.
Mrs B’s solicitor considered that the Court would be likely to award damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in the region of £2,300 to £2,500.
For her expenses and losses (out of pocket expenses) £42.88 but she was advised that the calculation of expenses and losses that her solicitor had prepared puts forward her case on the most reasonably optimistic basis possible at this stage. Whilst it is right to put the case at its best it is likely that the Defendant will argue lower figures are appropriate on certain aspects of the claim. Accordingly, Mrs B does need to keep an open mind on the level at which a settlement might be achieved should sensible proposals be put forward by the Defendant. Her solicitor would advise further on this as and when the Defendant responds to the calculation. Her solicitors believe that they would recover in the region of £10 to £30 against her Schedule for out of pocket expenses. Mrs B’s solicitor believed that they should put forward an offer of £4000.00 but if the offer is not accepted by the insures the advice was to accept anything over £2310.00.
Mrs B agreed with her solicitor and signed the authority for them to make the offer as suggested.
On receipt of the offer the insurers made a counter offer of £34340.00 which was well above the minimum level suggested by Mrs B’s solicitor.
Mrs B accepted the offer and was informed that she would receive the compensation cheque within the next 3-4 weeks.