Simon Helliwell in our personal injury department recently inherited and settled a claim for a pedestrian in excess of £5,000.00 in which the Defendant’s conduct certainly left a lot to be desired.
On the 21 July 2020, Simon’s client was working as a volunteer at the funeral of Jack Charlton. There were road blocks in place to aid the funeral procession and for the safety of the thousands of people lining the streets.
The Defendant driver, who took exception to the road blocks, drove past a road closed sign, hit a mobility scooter and almost hit a child.
Our client stopped the car and put her hands on the bonnet to ensure the car did not proceed. The car started to drive forward with the driver becoming more aggressive with the car accelerating forwards getting faster and faster with my client essentially running backwards. She eventually was able to push herself to the side and fell to the floor suffering a shoulder and psychological injuries.
The driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention.
Despite this, the Defendant throughout essentially alleged fraud against Simon’s client and the claim was defended on the basis that there was no contact at all between Simon’s client and the car despite his client receiving flowers and cards from both the Council and the Charlton family for her heroics.
The allegation of fraud significantly impacted upon Simon’s client and legal costs increased considerably and it was not until legal proceedings had been commenced that the case settled.
It is fashionable for defendants and their representatives to allege fraud at the drop of a hat because if a Court accepts any exaggeration or false statements by a claimant the case is struck out and the Claimant has to pay both side’s legal costs.
This certainly was not the case here.
Remember, a Claimant is a victim of negligence. Yet at the behest of the insurance industry who have the government’s ear all the cards these days seem to be stacked in favour of defendants and this needs to be reversed. If a Claimant slightly exaggerates their claim they are severely punished yet there are no sanctions if a defendant falsely alleges fraud against a claimant.
The general public were also promised reductions in their car insurance premiums as essentially all Whiplash claims are now a small claim with no legal costs payable by insurers and claims up to a value of £100,000.00 (certainly over 90% of claims) only fixed minimal legal costs are recoverable from insurers.
Instead of car insurance premiums reducing, it is now widely reported that insurance premiums have increased substantially by 50%. In this cost of living crisis the insurance industry certainly has a lot to answer for also.