Amount: £212,500 on a full liability basis
Mr H was involved in a serious accident on 15th May 2012.
The circumstances of the accident were that Mr H was filtering through stationary traffic at a busy traffic-light controlled junction. Mr H proceeded to cross the junction on a green light, but failed to appreciate that all other traffic had stopped to allow an ambulance, which had gone through a red light to cross the junction from his right, to proceed. Consequently Mr H drove into the side of the ambulance, suffering from life-changing orthopaedic injuries as a result.
The ambulance driver had his lights and sirens engaged at the time of the collision and was therefore entitled to go through the red light (by treating it as a give way sign) under regulation 36(1) of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. Mr H also had a duty to look and listen for emergency vehicles pursuant to regulation 219.
It was therefore clear that Mr H would have to accept the lion’s share of culpability for the accident, and when the Defendant’s Solicitors made an offer to resolve liability on a 75/25 basis (i.e. that Mr H should accept 75% of the blame), Mr H’s previous Solicitors recommended that he accept it and that if he continued in spite of the offer he might receive nothing at all.
Mr H did not feel that this was a fair assessment and neither did Bikelawyer’s Andrew Campbell, who agreed to take over the case on a ‘no-win, no fee basis’.
On receipt of the file Bikelawyer were able to present the strengths of Mr H’s claim and discredit the Defendant’s evidence, and in particular that the ambulance was moving very slowly at the time of the accident, in order to show that the Ambulance driver was also culpable for failing to see Mr H.
Consequently Bikelawyer achieved a more equitable 60/40 liability split and settled Mr H’s claim for a full liability amount of £212,500.00, leaving him with £85,000.00 in his hand net of the split.
Although it is doubtful, given their prior handling of the case, that Mr H’s previous solicitors would have obtained a settlement of this size; even if they had done so, based on the 75/25 liability they recommended accepting, Mr H would only have received £53,125.00, which would have been £31,875.00 less than the sum obtained by Bikelawyer.
This case highlights the clear need for clients to ensure that they have instructed technically proficient lawyers with expertise in complex liability disputes and high value cases, and not simply whichever firm their insurance company happens to have a commercial agreement with.