Jenny's car accident claim settles for £60,000 (Co. Down)
A-level student Jenny was driving along a Co. Down country road during her daily commute to school. As she turned through a tight bend she saw a lorry coming towards her and blocking part of her side of the road. She tried to mount a grassy verge to avoid a collision, but it was too steep and her car flipped back onto the road and into the side of the lorry. As the lorry and Jenny’s car collided, her roof was ripped off. As a result of the serious accident she sustained a large cut on her face and whiplash. The police attended the scene and surmised that Jenny was driving too fast and blamed her for the accident. This was reflected in the officer’s report.
Although she felt lucky to have survived, Jenny began to show symptoms of adjustment disorder in the aftermath of the accident. Symptoms include stress, sadness and the feeling of hopelessness. These feelings were brought on by the large scar left on her face, a nightmare scenario for any teenage girl. They were further heightened by unsupportive school friends that Jenny distanced herself from. Unfortunately, all of this took place in the middle of her A-level preparations and it is felt that it affected her performance.
Jenny decided to claim for compensation
Jenny was left frustrated that she was blamed for the accident. The owner of the lorry claimed from Jenny’s insurance who paid out for the cost of damage on the basis of a damning and unfair police report. This bothered her. Although within the speed limit, Jenny accepted she may have took a corner of the familiar road too fast. However, she maintained that the lorry driver had ample space on his side of the road and his manoeuvre was both reckless and dangerous. A concerned relative recommended that Jenny contact Paschal O’Hare Solicitors with a view to claim for compensation. Upon hearing the details, Seymour Major became her new solicitor.
As Jenny’s insurer paid out, it appeared that they conceded liability. However, as they did so without prejudice it meant our client could still pursue a claim. We sent Jenny to be examined by medical specialists who helped us value her claim by providing medical reports. Thankfully, Jenny’s legal savvy father took photos of the scene of the accident that showed the lorry driver had more room to pull in than he used. We obtained these photographs from him. Once the evidence was gathered a letter of claim was sent to the owner of the lorry. They denied liability, using the police report as evidence to justify their position.
We issued court proceedings
We issued proceedings and the lorry owner’s insurer offered £5,000 to settle without prejudice. This would also include costs such as solicitor and medical fees. We refused this and pressed on in the direction of court. The defendant appointed a solicitor who made a higher offer of £15,000, once again, inclusive of costs. Once costs would have been deducted Jenny would have been left with very little. This was rejected. We felt that whilst Jenny may be criticised in court for being unable to stop before the collision occurred, that the majority of the blame lay with the lorry driver for invading the wrong side of the road. We obtained evidence from a consultant engineer to support this along with police photographs for the purposes of illustration.
Once the case was set for a court hearing, we met with the defendant who proposed settlement on the basis that Jenny was 75% at fault. We refused to accept this and advised that we should proceed to a High Court trial. On the morning of the hearing, before it began, the defendant offered to settle for £60,000 plus all costs. This sum was representative of a 50/50 collision. The offer was duly accepted and Jenny, who started her day anxiously, went home feeling relieved and vindicated.
This case highlights how it is important to speak with a professional even when you feel you are to blame or part to blame. You can learn more about contributory negligence here. Solicitor Seymour Major and the wider firm are particularly pleased to have helped Jenny access some justice. We wish her well in her continued studies which will undoubtedly lead to a bright future.
If you have an accident that you feel wasn’t exclusively your fault then we may be able to help you too. Click here to learn more about our service or contact us for a free no obligation discussion with one of our solicitors.