Mr C ‘s Grandfather was taking delivery of a 250 kg joist at his premises. The delivery driver asked the grandfather if he could help him unload the joist. However due to ill health he was unable to assist so the driver asked Mr C. As they were moving the joist the delivery driver dropped his end of the joist causing it to fall onto Mr C’s foot. as a result Mr C suffered a fracture to his foot.
Mr C instructed Hayward Baker personal Injury Solicitors to pursue his claim for personal injury compensation and associated loses. Mr C’s solicitor explained to him in simple terms how a personal injury claim works after which Mr C was happy to continue and Hayward Baker Solicitors were happy to take on the case.
As the current estimated value of the claim is under £25,000, Mr C’s claim is running under a scheme known as the “Pre-action Protocol for low value personal injury claims”.
In accordance with the above scheme his solicitor sent sent the Claims Notification Form to the other party. This form provides them with all the necessary information to enable them to consider the claim, and in particular detailed allegations confirming why they believe they were responsible for Mr C’s accident.
Personal Injury Claim Allegations
The allegations were as follows:
The reason why we are alleging fault is that you, your servants and/or agents have been negligent. We hold you vicariously liable for the actions of the employee who elected to manual handle the joist rather than use mechanical means and who dropped the joist causing it to injure our client’s foot.
The other party now had 40 working days to respond to the form. If the other party fails to respond within the time limit, denies liability, alleges that the claim is worth less than £1,000.00 or makes an admission of liability with an allegation of contributory negligence (argument that Mr C is partially responsible), then his claim will exit this scheme. If this occurs his solicitor will notify him at that stage advising him how best to proceed with his claim.
If the other party admits liability for the accident, within the time limit, then Mr C’s 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 Hayward Baker to demonstrate those injuries that he sustained in the accident and asked if Mr c could please provide them with a written update in relation to his current symptoms. He 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
Special Damages/Out of Pocket Expenses claim
Mr C was reminded that he was previously given a copy of Hayward Baker Solicitors Out of Pocket Expenses Questionnaire. If this was not returned he was asked to return this to his solicitor. If your financial losses are ongoing may I suggest that you keep a note of any such expenditure such as travelling expenses, prescription charges, damaged clothing etc. Please keep receipts wherever possible. Please let me have this information as soon as possible since a delay in providing me with this information could delay your claim.
In order to obtain compensation for Mr C as soon as possible his solicitor stated that they would only trouble him at the key stages of his claim. When his solicitor does contact him they will need his full and prompt assistance.
The other party insurers had now contacted Hayward Baker Solicitors and confirmed they are now dealing on the behalf of their insure red and they requested the following information for clarity:
- The registration number of the delivery vehicle
- The name of the delivery driver
- The invoice/delivery receipt
- The CCTV footage
Mr C forwarded the required information to his solicitor who duly passed them onto the insurers. A short while after this information was received by the insurers they posted on the portal their liability decision. Liability was admitted and Mr C was informed as to what happens next.
Mr C’s solicitor confirmed to him that liability was admitted and this meant that provided that the medical report confirms that he was injured as a result of the accident, the insurers have agreed to pay him compensation, and his solicitor will of course discuss with Mr C the level of compensation after receipt of the medical report.
his solicitor now took steps to arrange for him to be examined by a medical expert. The medical evidence will enable them to demonstrate those injuries that Mr c sustained in the accident and asked if he could provide his solicitor me with a written update in relation to his current symptoms. he was asked the following questions::
- Does he still suffer symptoms as a result of the accident?
- If so, what are those symptoms?
- Is he still having treatment at the hospital or with you GP?
- Is he still taking any medication?
When Mr C’s solicitor receives his response they will be better placed to assess whether it is the appropriate time to arrange the medical appointment.
Hayward Baker were updated on Mr C’s injury progress after which a medical appointment was requested with an A&E Consultant.
The medical appointment did not take long to come through and Hayward Baker received the medical report from the expert.
A copy of the report was sent to Mr C for approval and he was asked to sign and return the approval form if he was happy else call his solicitor to discuss.
Mr C’s solicitor had now been able to value his claim on the basis of the prognosis in the medical report. a letter was sent to Mr C informing him what his solicitor believed the claim to be worth.
1. Pain, suffering and loss of amenity
The Court will award compensation to reflect pain, suffering and loss of amenity resulting from the injuries. The award of compensation under this main head 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 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.
His solicitor considered the Court would be likely to award damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in the region of £2,000 to £3,000.
2. Expenses and losses
The Court will also assess compensation for quantifiable expenses and losses resulting from the injuries. The award will reflect sums which are reasonably claimed and can be shown to have been caused by the injuries. The compensation awarded under this head is sometimes termed ‘Special Damages’.
The current Schedule of Special Damages (out of pocket expenses) amounts to the total sum of £343.56 which is made up of travelling expenses and care and assistance.
Mr C was asked to bear in mind that the calculation of expenses and losses they have prepared puts forward his 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, Mr C 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. His solicitor will advise further on this as and when the Defendant responds to the calculation.
Presently, his solicitor believes that they would recover in the region of £10 to £50 against this Schedule.
Again, they shall review this further pending the Defendant’s response.
The advice given is made on the basis of the Defendant being fully liable for the injuries. An apportionment of liability means a reduction in the figures given, by an equivalent percentage, to allow for that apportionment.
The Defendant has, however, admitted liability in full.
- ATE Insurance
Mr C opted to take out an insurance policy to protect him from the risk of losing his case therefore £388.73 will be deducted from any compensation awarded.
- Hayward Baker’s fee
Under the terms of his agreement with Hayward Baker, if there is a shortfall between the amount of your total legal costs and the legal costs that they can recover from the Defendants, then he will have to pay these out of his compensation (subject to a maximum deduction of 25% from your compensation).
Taking the above into account his believes that they should make a formal global offer to settle in the sum of £4,250, on the basis that the Defendant will inevitably try and knock them down. If the offer is not accepted, his solicitor believes that he should consider accepting any offer equal or above £2,010. If his solicitor is unable to persuade them to settle for at least this amount then they would need to consider issuing proceedings and letting the judge decide. Mr C’s solicitor will discuss this in more detail should it be necessary.
If Mr C is happy with the above proposal he was asked please to sign and return the enclosed authority to proceed as suggested. Alternatively he could discuss this with this with his solicitor by telephone.
Mr C agreed with the advice given to him by Hayward Baker and sent both the approval for his medical report and to allow his solicitor to make an offer to the defendant insurers. An offer was made for £4,250.00 which was counter offered by the insurers for £3,596.00 which was accepted by Mr c and his case came to en end.