£175,000 recovered for the victim of a road traffic accident who had been told by his former solicitor that his claim was worth no more than £25,000
If ever there was a case that highlights the importance of seeking specialist advice when it comes to making a personal injury claim, then a case handled recently by our serious injury team is the case.
It involved a successful Romanian businessman who had been injured in a high speed rear shunt road traffic accident when the car he was travelling in was hit while on a slip road on the M25 near Heathrow Airport in London.
As a result of the accident, the gentleman sustained a serious spinal injury which left him with persistent back and leg pain. He also suffered physiological injuries that left him extremely traumatised and which, combined with his physical injuries, meant that he was unable to continue working as an international recruiter of overseas medical professionals and HGV drivers.
He knew that he was entitled to compensation, so when a London based law firm contacted him shortly after the accident and offered to make a claim on his behalf he immediately said yes. However, this was a decision that he would soon come to regret as the solicitor assigned to handle his case refused to meet him face to face, was always too busy talk and on the rare occasions when he did manage to pin them down was, in his words, incredibly rude.
Perhaps more shockingly, the solicitor also considered that despite the extent of the injuries the gentleman had sustained and the financial damage caused through lost earnings, the value of his claim was no more than £25,000 and should therefore be dealt with via the low value road traffic accident and personal injury portal scheme operated by the Ministry of Justice.
As the name suggests, the portal scheme is one that is designed to deal with minor injury cases where the amount of compensation sought is relatively modest and where the emphasis is on getting undisputed claims settled as quickly as they possibly can be.
Disappointed with the service he was receiving, the gentleman decided to come to us for a second opinion, having been recommended to the firm by one of our clients.
His case was assigned to serious injury specialist, Abid Hussain, who agreed to meet with him straight away and who took the time to consider his situation and to compare it to similar cases he had handled over his decades long career as a personal injury expert.
Following an initial review it became apparent that the amount of compensation potentially recoverable was far in excess of the £25,000 that had been quoted, and accordingly Abid’s advice was to pull the case from the portal so that a more substantial claim could be pursued.
Impressed with Abid’s knowledge and expertise, the gentleman agreed with the suggested course of action and immediately instructed Step Legal to take over the conduct of his claim.
As Abid explains:
“Upon receipt of instructions, our first challenge was to convince the insurer of the driver who had hit our now client that the value of his claim had always been more than £25,000 and that the initial decision to pursue the claim through the portal scheme made by his previous solicitor was, to put in bluntly, plainly wrong.’
‘This was obviously not welcome news from the insurer’s point of view, but by careful explanation of the circumstances we were able to persuade them to agree to the portal claim being withdrawn and to the matter being pursued under a different procedure designed for higher value cases.”
Oddly, when we contacted the operators of the portal scheme to advise them that the claim was being withdrawn we discovered that a total of four claims had been submitted on behalf of the client for exactly the same accident and neither we nor he knows why.
We therefore had to arrange for all four claims to be pulled from the scheme and send the insurer a new claim notification letter in which we set out the true amount of compensation we believed was due, supported by independent medical evidence and a detailed financial report setting out the client’s estimated loss of earnings.
As Abid goes on to explain:
“Following receipt of the letter, the insurer admitted liability to settle the claim but disputed the amount being sought which meant that we had no choice but to issue legal proceedings. However, after intense and protracted negotiations we finally manage to persuade them to settle the claim for £175,000 – which is £150,000 more than his original solicitor had advised he was likely to receive.”
Unsurprisingly, the client was thrilled with this result and more importantly with the service that he had received which was a far cry from the service he had got from his original solicitor.
Speaking shortly after the resolution of his claim in April 2020, the client said:
“Abid has restored my faith in solicitors and without his help I can honestly say that I could not have got through the past few years since the accident, which have been really tough. The service I have received really has been first class.”
“Abid told me when I first met him that he would get me the compensation that I deserved and he has delivered on his promise. He is a true professional with an equally skilled and effective team behind him, including the wonderful Alison Hill who was incredibly helpful in progressing my case and in keeping me informed about what was happening.”
“Nothing was ever too much trouble for Abid or Alison. If I wanted to meet face to face then I could, if I wanted a progress report over the phone then I got it and, when money began to get tight as a result of me being unable to work, they were even able to persuade the insurer to make me a couple of payments on account to tide me over while I waited for my claim to be finalised.”
“I really cannot recommend Step Legal Solicitors enough and particularly to people like me who do not speak perfect English because they really do pull out all the stops to make their service as accessible as they possibly can.”