Lawyers Praised for Achieving Excellent Settlement of Road Accident Claim

Lawyers are not detectives, but the roles they play in discerning the causes of road traffic accidents are often surprisingly similar. That was certainly so in a case concerning a young man who was seen staggering around in the road moments before he was struck by a car and catastrophically injured.

The man was flung over the car's bonnet in the early hours of the morning, suffering serious orthopaedic, internal and brain injuries. After a personal injury claim was launched on his behalf, the driver's motor insurers admitted primary liability for the accident. They argued, however, that the man had himself been negligent and was to a substantial extent the author of his own misfortune.

Suffering from post-traumatic amnesia, he has no recollection of the accident. It was not known whether he was intoxicated at the time and there was no record of alcohol having been in his system. Eyewitnesses, however, had spoken of him weaving around in the road prior to the accident. CCTV and dashcam footage from a passing car added to the impression that he may have been drunk.

Following negotiations, the insurers agreed to pay 50 per cent of the full value of his claim. Approving that compromise, the High Court noted that the footage showed him moving in an uncontrolled manner, apparently oblivious to the danger or to passing drivers shouting at him and sounding their horns.

There was a real risk that a contested trial of the man's claim would have led to a less favourable outcome from his point of view. Even after a 50 per cent deduction, he would be entitled to a very substantial sum to assist in covering the costs of his care. Overall, the Court was satisfied that an excellent settlement of liability issues had been achieved in the case. The amount of his damages will be assessed at a further hearing, if not agreed.

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