Charles O’Brien, Senior Solicitor, has secured a six figure settlement for a passenger who suffered significant injuries when involved in a road traffic collision when her driver hit a wall following a police chase.
Passengers in a vehicle are generally considered innocent parties and, therefore, bound to succeed in establishing liability to recover compensation. However, there can be exceptional circumstances. In this case the driver’s insurers tried to argue that our client’s claim should be reduced due to her contributory negligence on two accounts. Firstly, that she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and so her injuries might have been less serious and secondly, that she knowingly got into a car when she knew or ought to have known that the driver had been drinking excessively. Thankfully, following detailed analysis of the medical records we were able to show that she had injuries and bruising indicative of seatbelt wearing and we were able to get a comprehensive chronology of the evening’s events from witnesses to show that either the driver hadn’t been drinking excessively or our client was not aware that he had.
Our client suffered significant upper and lower limb injuries, a brain injury and psychiatric damage. Reports were obtained from a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, a neurologist and a psychiatrist and a report was about to be obtained from a neuropsychologist to comment on the client’s cognitive issues when the case settled out of court for a substantial figure.
The case demonstrates the importance of gathering good, detailed and contemporaneous evidence to counter speculate arguments advanced by insurers in an attempt to reduce a claimant’s compensation by a significant margin.
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