Mr F was stationary in his vintage Rolls Royce at a T-junction in Ellesmere Port waiting for traffic to pass before he pulled out. The driver of the vehicle behind him failed to stop and as a result collided with the rear of Mr F’s vehicle causing him personal injury to his back, both wrists and left elbow.
Mr F wanted to claim personal injury compensation and chose Hayward Baker personal Injury Solicitors as the firm he wished to instruct and pursue his claim for personal injury compensation.
Once Hayward Baker solicitors had discussed the accident circumstances with Mr F and were satisfied that he had a case, that he fully understood what was involved in making a claim and that he was happy to proceed they sent out the relevant paperwork for him 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.
Mr F was informed that as the current estimated value of his claim is under £25,000, his claim is running under a scheme known as the “Pre-action Protocol for low value personal injury claims”.
Mr F 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 his claim is worth less than £1,000.00 or makes an admission of liability with an allegation of contributory negligence (argument that Mr F is partially responsible), then his claim will exit this scheme. If this occurs then his solicitor will notify him at that stage advising him how best to proceed with his claim.
If the other party admits liability for Mr F’s accident, within the time limit, then his claim will proceed under the above scheme and the next step will be to obtain medical evidence to substantiate the injuries that he sustained in the accident.
The medical evidence will enable his solicitor to demonstrate those injuries that he sustained in the accident and it would be helpful if he could provide his solicitor with a written update in relation to his current symptoms. Mr F was asked to confirm the following:
- does he still suffer symptoms as a result of the accident,
- if so, what are these symptoms,
- is he still having treatment at hospital or with his GP
- Is he still taking medication
When the initial paperwork was sent out for Mr F to sign she was sent a copy of Hayward Baker Solicitors ‘Out of Pocket Expenses Questionnaire’. He was asked to complete and return this as soon as possible and if he had any ongoing losses then he was to keep a record of these and to keep any receipts or damaged items.
Fourteen days after the defendant insurers were notified of the claim they sent a letter to Hayward Baker Solicitors stating that liability had been admitted.
Mr F was informed immediately by letter and his solicitor explained that as liability was not in dispute then this means that provided that the medical report confirms he was injured as a result of the accident, they have agreed to pay him compensation, and his solicitor will of course discuss with him the level of compensation after receipt of the medical report.
His solicitor will now take steps to arrange for him to be examined by a medical expert. The medical evidence will enable them to demonstrate those injuries that he sustained in the accident and it would be helpful if he could please provide his solicitor with a written update in relation to his current symptoms. He 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 his solicitor has received his response, they will be better placed to assess whether it is the appropriate time to arrange the appointment.
The defendant insurers contacted Hayward Baker via the on-line portal that given the description of Mr F’s injuries they wished to make an early settlement offer of £1500.00 without the need for a medical examination. Mr F was informed of this offer by letter and that if he accepted the offer then this will be in full and final settlement of his claim and that there would not be a medical appointment and he would not be able to return at a later date for more compensation.
His solicitor further advised Mr F that it is difficult to advise upon the reasonableness of the offer without medical evidence to confirm the exact nature and duration of of the injuries that he sustained as a result of the road collision. His solicitor added that the offer is a good offer if the symptoms resolved within 10-12 weeks. However if the injuries were to last longer than this time period then the offer of £1500.00 is not reasonable. Mr F also had a loss of earnings claim and if he did accept the offer then he would not be able to recover his loss of earnings in addition, nor any other financial losses that he may have incurred.
Another option for Mr F was to continue with the arrangements to have him medically examined and a report prepared so that his solicitor can provide him with more advice as to the likely financial value of his personal injury compensation claim. His solicitor stressed that if the medical evidence indicates a financial value in the region of the current offer of £1500.00, Mr F would not then be entitled to any further compensation simply on the basis that he waited for that evidence. The financial value of his claim is based on the injuries he sustained and how long they take to resolve, not the duration of the claim itself.
At this time Mr F’s solicitor is unable to specifically advise him whether this offer should be considered acceptable without the medical report. Therefore It would be helpful to have an update from Mr F on his injuries and whether he has now fully recovered or if he is still suffering from some symptoms.
With all this in mind, his solicitor asked if he could please telephone them to discuss the offer, or if he simply wishes to accept the offer now sign and return the authority form that was attached to the letter.
Mr F contacted his solicitor immediately upon receipt of the letter and stated the the offer was not enough as he was still suffering from his injuries and having medical treatment. Mr F confirmed that he wished to continue with his claim and undergo the medical examination with a medical expert. His solicitor took steps to arrange the appointment and when it came through he was asked to confirm that he was going to attend and to remember that the medical expert will be asking the following question:
- Details of all injuries suffered and their immediate affects upon every aspect of Mr F’s life;
- What treatment has he been given in relation to each injury and what treatment he is presently undergoing and have been advised that he might need in the future;
- Details of any continuing disability and the affect that this has upon his home life, employment, hobbies or pastimes etc that he enjoyed prior to the accident.
He was also advised to keep a record of any travel expenses and to keep receipts where provided. he was also asked to take some form of Identification when he attends the appointment, such as a drivers licence or passport to prove his identity to the medical expert.
The medical appointment details came through Mr F confirmed that he was going to attend the medical appointment and told his solicitor that he was also going to have an MRI scan.
After his medical appointment Mr F promptly informed his solicitor of his travel expenses to and from the medical appointment and to and from the MRI scan. Mr F’s solicitor added these items to his schedule of out of pocket expenses part of his claim and informed him that the medical report can take 4-6 weeks to come from the medical expert.
The medical report was received and Mr F was right not to have accepted the insurers earlier offer to settle pre medical report. The medical expert had confirmed that Mr F’s injuries were as a result of the accident and that he would like to see his medical records and the results of the recent MRI scan. The medical expert also recommended a further course of physiotherapy and would like to re-examine Mr F in 5 months time. In addition the expert recommenced that Mr F be seen by a Consultant Rheumatologist with regard to his elbow injury and that a further report is prepared.
Mr F’s solicitor asked that he read the report thoroughly and if he had any questions or he thought the report was inaccurate in some way then to contact them immediately. His solicitors confirmed that steps were being made for him to be seen by a Consultant Rheumatologist.
Numerous medical appointments were arranged and Mr F was concerned how long the case was going to go on for and why couldn’t he just get a valuation now. His solicitor explained that the valuation process was based on the medical prognosis in the medical reports but would ask the insurers if he could have an interim payment of £1000.00. The insurers agreed and payment was made to Mr F and he was advised that when his case settled it would be less this amount that had already been paid.
Medical records were obtained from Mr F’s GP, the hospital and updated report form the physiotherapist. All of these records will be sent to the medical experts to aid them in their prognosis. As Mr F had a claim for loss of earnings and that he was self employed his solicitor asked that he chase his accountant for his business accounts which would be required to calculate his loss of earnings claim.
Now that Mr F had been seen by the Consultant Rheumatologist, that he has now received numerous sessions of physiotherapy and had the MRI scan the original medical expert wished to re-examine him to give an opinion and prognosis upon his injuries. Therefore Mr F was asked when he would be available for another appointment taking into account that he had already mentioned to his solicitor that he was going on holiday soon.
The final medical examination took place and the report was sent to Mr F for his approval. Mr F’s back injuries although would have had some degenerative changes with or without the accident the consultant confirmed that the accident would have put Mr F back 30 months. The injuries to his hand wrist, left arm and elbow were dated by the consultant in his report when they would have fully resolved.
Mr F was happy with the final report and sent is solicitor the signed approval form so that the report could be disclosed to the insurers and an update on his out of pocket expenses. His solicitor could now use the report to value the claim for personal injury compensation.
Once the claim was valued Mr F’s solicitor wrote to him with an assessment of what they consider to be the appropriate level of compensation to be claimed from the defendant. The advice was for pain and suffering was between £5,000.00 and £5,200.00 and for expenses and losses (special damages) between £100.00 to £200.00. Plus a note was made that £1000.00 had already been paid as an interim payment. taking into account these figures Mr F’s solicitor believes that an offer of £7000.00 be put forward on the basis that the defendant will try and push this figure down. If this offer is not accepted the solicitor believes that Mr F should consider accepting an offer equal to or above £5,100.00. If Hayward Baker Solicitors are not able to persuade the defendant insurers to settle for at least this amount then they would have to consider issuing proceedings and let a judge decide. Mr F was asked consider the proposal and if he was happy to sign and return the enclosed authority allowing his solicitor to proceed as suggested.
Mr F agreed with the proposal so an offer was submitted to the insurers for a sum of £7,000.00. The insurers came back with a counter offer of £6,530.60 to include the £1,000.00 already paid to Mr F. Mr F did not pursue his loss of earnings claim.
The case came to an end and Mr F received his settlement cheque around 4 days later.