Client Represented by Mary Blyth [Associate]
This client [Mr S] contacted Harris Fowler for representation having been involved in a serious road traffic accident and his claim was very near to the three year limitation date expiring. He was desperate having unsuccessfully been dealing with two previous firms who told him that his prospects of success were too low for them to represent him. I took on this case and had to act very quickly to protect it from being out of time.
The background to his case was that in 2007, when he was in his mid 20’s, he was involved in a very serious road traffic accident. He was driving a commercial vehicle along a narrow two lane carriageway when it left the road and slid down a high embankment colliding with a tree. The force of the impact was so severe that he was thrown through the windscreen and in so sustained a serious head injury from which he was not expected to survive or at best be left with debilitating brain damage. The passenger with him received very minor cuts and bruises.
When I started to investigate this claim it became clear that the two previous solicitor’s firms had declined to assist my client because due to his injury he was in a coma for a month and could only recall events up to about an hour before the accident and then when he woke in hospital. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau [MIB] had also declined to consider a claim for the same reasons. To add to the significance of what my client was already facing he revealed that his wife was 9 months pregnant with their first child.
Under the civil law it is for the Claimant to prove liability and because I was faced with a client who had no recollection of the incident I had to look for supporting evidence. The only evidence I had was information provided by the police in relation to the the position of the vehicles. The passenger was asleep at the time and could not assist with the circumstances immediately prior the vehicle leaving the road.
I submitted a claim against the driver of the oncoming vehicle, which was straddling the middle lane at the time, causing my client to swerve to avoid a collision. I issued a second claim against my client’s employers for failing to ensure that he was properly trained to drive heavy plant machinery. This element of the claim had been overlooked by the two previous solicitors entirely. The weight of his vehicle had been a contributing factor as the weight when driven on the soft verge caused the vehicle to move further over and down the embankment. Had he been driving a car then he would likely have stayed on the road. Negotiations to settle this claim were unsuccessful and I had to issue proceedings against both the client’s employer and the driver of the oncoming vehicle.
Due to careful negotiation I was successful in obtaining an award of compensation in the sum of £100 k. With this money the client was able to start his own business which is now very successful. Although he has residual symptoms, where he needs assistance with tasks he could previously undertake independently, his ambitious spirit remains intact.