Bikelawyer acted for Mr W in a claim for damages and other losses arising out of a road traffic accident in which he was involved in September 2010, having taken over the conduct of the claim from his former solicitors who had been appointed by his insurance company.
The accident circumstances were that Mr W had been riding his motorcycle behind a car being driven by Mr R along an A road in Barnsley which had a 50 mph speed limit. Mr R who was positioned ahead of Mr W slowed his car and proceeded to carry out a right hand turn. Mr W had not appreciated that the car driver was making a turn and began to overtake him but as Mr R made his turn Mr W collided with his vehicle.
As a result of the collision the Claimant spent 7 nights in hospital having sustained a concussion, post traumatic amnesia, a fractured wrist, soft tissue injury to the right ankle, soft tissue injury to the right knee, deep laceration/burn to the right calf which required skin grafting, laceration to the left hand side of his neck, and travel anxiety.
Mr R denied liability on the basis that he had seen Mr W in his rear mirror immediately before the collision, and had appreciated that Mr W was going to try to overtake him and so he turned his indicator on so as to signal his intended manoeuvre. Bikelawyer argued that the duty of care that Mr R owed to Mr W went further than to simply indicate his intended manoeuvre such that he also had to check to ensure that Mr W had seen his indication and was aware that Mr R was about to turn.
Bikelawyer readily conceded that some liability would attach to Mr W but that Mr R too should take a share of the blame. Mr R maintained a complete denial of liability and so Bikelawyer obtained medical evidence was obtained from an orthopaedic surgeon and a neurologist and issued court proceedings.
At a case management conference Bikelawyer sought directions for a full trial. The Defendant’s counsel pressed for a split trial of liability (notwithstanding that by that time the Defendant had made both quantum and liability offers albeit that they were not accepted).
The court accepted the Defendant’s submissions and listed the matter for a split trial of the issue of liability only. This meant that Mr W would have to prove that Mr R had a liability to him at a trial, and then, if he was successful, a further trial would be listed to assess the value of Mr W’s claim.
Witness evidence was exchanged, following which Bikelawyer requested disclosure of Mr R’s phone records as it was not clear as to whether or not he had been on the phone immediately before the collision. Mr R refused to provide these records and so Bikelawyer made an application for specific disclosure of those records. That application was successful and Mr R was ordered to disclose his phone records for the day of the accident.
Notwithstanding the Court’s Order, Mr R did not disclose his phone records. Bikelawyer argued that Mr R’s failure to comply with the Court’s Order would enable an inference to be drawn to the effect that Mr R was on his phone at the time of the collision.
Accident reconstruction evidence was also obtained (again at the behest of the Defendant). The accident reconstruction evidence confirmed that both parties could have done things differently to avoid a collision.
The trial of the issue of liability went ahead and following which it was adjudged that liability should be split on a 60/40 basis in favour of the Defendant.
Mr W had therefore succeeded in his claim on the issue of liability as it had always been his case that whilst a large share of contributory negligence would vest in him, Mr R should also bear some degree of responsibility for having caused the accident.
Following trial of the issue of liability the court listed a case management hearing to agree further directions for a further trial of the issue of quantum.
Shortly after that hearing the Defendant made an offer to settle Mr W’s claim in the sum of £50,000 gross of liability.