It is not easy to get a car insurer to agree to hand over compensation in a personal injury claim where responsibility for a road traffic accident in which those injuries were sustained is denied. Yet this is what personal injury specialist Anna Rushton managed to do when she convinced an insurer to settle a heavily contested pedestrian accident claim, in which there were conflicting accounts about what happened and no independent witnesses or CCTV footage.
Circumstances of the Accident
Our client’s version of events
According to our client, she had been walking across the road outside her local train station, using the designated pedestrian crossing, when she was struck without warning by a car which had failed to notice that the traffic lights controlling the crossing were on red. The force of the impact threw her up onto the car’s bonnet and then down to the ground, causing a fracture dislocation to her right ring finger and soft tissue damage to her left side.
She alleged that following the incident the driver got out of the car and apologised for what had happened, telling our client that she was not familiar with the area and had come to the station to pick up her grandson. She gave her full name and insurance details and then attempted to make amends by driving our client home.
The driver’s version of events
According to the car driver, our client had been running across the road while the traffic lights controlling the pedestrian crossing were on green and had then stumbled and fallen when she realised that a car was coming towards her. It was the driver’s case that no contact between the car and our client had occurred and that they were therefore blameless for the injuries that had been sustained. They denied that any apology that may have been given amounted to an admission of liability or indeed to any degree of fault.
Our Approach to the Claim
We knew that the car driver would be unlikely to change their version of events and that this was going to be a case where it was our client’s word against theirs. Our aim was to therefore come up with ways in which we could make our client’s version of what happened more credible and thus more likely to be believed should the matter end up in court.
To do this, we made the following points to the driver’s insurer:
- the severity of the injuries sustained by our client suggested that they had been caused by her being hit by a car with some force rather than having merely stumbled and fallen to the ground;
- the road in question is long and straight and very well lit, meaning that visibility for pedestrians and drivers is good and with both being able to spot each other from some distance, providing they are paying attention;
- the area outside the station is designed to be pedestrian friendly and so avoid the need for people to ‘chance it’ by trying to cross the road anywhere other than the designated crossing provided;
- the road is always busy so there is no reason why our client would choose not to use the pedestrian crossing that had been made available; and
- the fact that our client had found herself on the ground, just short of the other side of the road, shows that she would have been in the middle of her crossing as the car approached, thereby giving the driver ample time to see her and stop had they been looking where they were going.
We knew that if we took the matter to court there was a risk that the judge could prefer the driver’s version of events and, if so, our client would walk away empty handed. However, we also knew that our client’s version of events made more sense and so the chances of her receiving nothing were low. For that reason we decided to press the driver’s insurer to enter negotiations with a view to settling the claim outside of the court arena.
Initially they were reluctant to engage, but by presenting our case forcefully and making it clear that we would have no hesitation in taking the matter to court if we had to, we were able to open up a dialogue which eventually resulted in our client receiving a cash sum of £6,000.
This was by way of compensation for the pain and suffering they had endured, the out of pocket expenses they had incurred in travelling to and from medical appointments, two weeks’ loss of earnings, a reduced work Christmas bonus and recognition of the fact that they were still struggling to carry heavy items at the time the settlement was agreed.
This was a fantastic result, which the client was very pleased with – hence the lovely flowers they gave to Anna by way of thanks.
Do you need help with a Claim?
We offer a free first interview at our offices in Crewe, or at your home if required, and if we decide that your claim is worth pursuing we can usually act for you on a no win, no fee basis.