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'Emily' - Hit by a car whilst crossing the road

Case handler: Gillian Lakes (Senior Solicitor)

In this case, our client sustained personal injury and loss as a result of a road traffic accident when she was hit by the Defendant whilst crossing the road.

Key elements of our client's case

The stance of the Defendant Insurer from the outset was that our client had walked directly into their policyholder's path giving him no opportunity to avoid a collision.

In the early stages of the claim, the Defendant Insurer put forward an offer to settle our client's claim on a 90/10 basis in favour of their policyholder but this was very quickly withdrawn the following day.

As a result of the accident, our client sustained a left lateral tibial plateau fracture, a left pelvic fracture and a left spinal fracture. The spinal fracture healed in 12 weeks as did the pelvic fracture.

Where our specialist serious injury experience really added value to our client's situation

In light of the ongoing liability dispute, we commissioned expert accident reconstruction evidence which was positive. It was the evidence of the expert that the distance and time available to the Defendant was sufficient for him to brake to a halt before reaching the point of impact, given his reported travelling speed of 25-30 miles per hour. It appeared that there was no braking of his vehicle before impact and in reality, the collision could have been avoided had the Defendant braked shortly before impact and its speed reduced by 10 miles per hour. This would have given our client sufficient time to clear the path of his vehicle.

The Defendant Insurer once again stated that our client was the author of her own misfortune but made an offer to settle her claim in full and final settlement for the sum of £10,000.

We rejected this offer and conveyed the evidence of our accident reconstruction expert to the Defendant Insurer who then returned with an improved liability offer of 50/50. This was rejected and liability was thereafter reached at 60/40 in our client's favour taking into account the potential risks of a higher percentage of contributory negligence being attached to our client by the Court.

The medical evidence we had obtained from Orthopaedic and Psychiatric medical experts was then disclosed to the Defendant Insurer.

The most serious of our client's orthopaedic injuries was the injury sustained to her left knee. There was an elevation of a damaged joint to the left knee which was treated with a plate. The evidence suggested that it is recognised that some patients who have traumatic injury to the knee can, particularly involving a tibial plateau (part of the knee joint), have ongoing persistent pain however that said, in this case the injury would not lead to arthritic changes and there was a small risk of arthritic change to be less than 5% and should arthritic change occur then it would, on the balance of probabilities, be accident-related.

The medical expert gave the opinion that from his physical assessment that he did not expect any long-term disability and did not feel that our client would qualify as being disabled under The Equality Act. He further stated that in the absence of any injury to our client's meniscus (cartilage in the knee joint), it was likely that her symptoms would persist at the level that they were at the time of her medical examination and that they wouldn't improve, however they would not be expected to deteriorate unless arthritis intervened.

Medical evidence from a Psychiatric expert was also commissioned. The expert noted that before the accident our client had suffered from some degree of psychological symptoms and that following the accident, she satisfied the criteria for an adjustment disorder for approximately 12 months after which time this condition improved and she subsequently experienced symptoms which did not amount to a diagnosis.

He went on to state that approximately 50% of our client's symptoms were pre-existing to the accident and approximately 50% of the symptoms were as a result of the accident and/or the subsequent effects on her life. It was also his opinion that following the accident our client fulfilled the criteria for a recognised psychiatric condition and that she would benefit from psychological treatment and thereafter expected our client to make a considerable recovery from her psychological symptoms caused by the accident, in approximately 12 months from the date of his assessment providing that the treatment has commenced within a few weeks.

Reaching settement

Following disclosure of the medical evidence to the Defendant Insurer they made an offer to settle our client's claim for a large five figure sum (gross of liability). This was rejected and after negotiations, our client's claim settled for a five figure sum considerably higher than the previous offer (gross of liability).