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INSURERS ADMIT LIABILITY FOR ACCIDENT BUT THEN OFFER REDUCED COMPENSATION – PART 1

Published in Truckstop News November 2015. In this issue Steven Hinchliffe of the professional drivers’ “go to” Personal Injury specialists Hinchliffes Solicitors considers why “INSURERS ADMIT LIABILITY FOR ACCIDENT BUT THEN OFFER REDUCED COMPENSATION – PART 1” Continuing his review of successfully completed accident claims, Steven Hinchliffe looks at another situation experienced by a reader of Truckstop News who was seeking an award of personal injury compensation. All of the accident victims mentioned in these articles are clients of my firm, Hinchliffes Solicitors.  They have given permission to disclose details of their real life experiences resulting in personal injury claims, and the steps taken to make a successful accident compensation claim. In this two part article I highlight a very common situation where an injured person makes a claim for financial compensation, and even though the insurers for the guilty party admit responsibility, they then seek to reduce the amount payable by saying that the injured claimant was partly to blame for what happened.  The legal description for this is a deduction for “contributory negligence”. Insurers for parties accused of causing accidents have one aim – to pay the injured person as little as possible, and preferably nothing.  Insurers commonly deny liability even in the most clear cut cases, and when they do accept responsibility one way to minimise their outlay is to suggest some contributory negligence.  Sometimes we have to advise our client that there is merit in this argument, but only where this is truly the case.  Often insurers will try to seek a reduction of say 25% of the total value of a claim just to see what reaction they get.  In the case I deal with below, the allegation of contributory fault raised its head at a very early stage. As with previous articles, the common factor is the often significant effect on the injured person’s life (physically, emotionally and financially) and although using the existing legal process to make personal injury claims as a means of redress cannot truly compensate for the trauma and inconvenience suffered, it can help not only by providing financial relief by awards of compensation, but also requiring the guilty party to provide the required medical and rehabilitation treatment. In cases where the other party accepts responsibility for the accident but it may take some time before the injured person fully recovers, it may be possible for part of their compensation to be paid on account, pending the final valuation of the claim. CASE STUDY – FORKLIFT TRUCK DRIVER INJURED DUE TO DEFECTIVE WORKPLACE – PART 1 Solicitor Phillip Roberts took a call from Mr K Abbott from Suffolk who told him that he had been at a timber terminal ready to unload packs of timber.  As he stepped down from a forklift truck, his foot turned on the edge of a defective drainage hole and which caused him to go over on his ankle.  After the accident photographs were taken showing the defect and which was then quickly repaired. Photographic evidence can be a real help to us in dealing with a claim, therefore if you are unlucky enough to have an accident do consider taking some pictures as a record of the situation at that time, just in case.  Mobile phones can be a real asset in this regard, as photographs taken with them can be forwarded to us giving useful supporting evidence. This appeared to us to be a straightforward claim as the Health and Safety Regulations affecting workplace floors are very clear, particularly where workers have to carry out part of their job on foot.  Therefore, once Phillip had explained the claims process to Mr Abbott and he instructed us to proceed, Phillip wrote to the owners of the terminal setting out why they should compensate Mr Abbott for his accident.  Within a month the company’s insurers confirmed they would accept responsibility, but at the same time suggested the compensation should be reduced by 20%. Their argument in support of this was firstly that Mr Abbott should not have stopped his FLT where he did because of the position of a nearby crane.  The crane in question was some 30 feet away, posed no risk to him and played no part in the cause of the accident.  Secondly, they indicated that Mr Abbott was aware of the many drainage holes in the floor, should have seen the one that caused his injury and taken greater care. In a situation like this, what should he do?  Does he take the easier option and give in to the deduction sought with the guarantee that some compensation will follow, or does he fight on for the full value of his claim?  Read the final part of this case report in the next issue of Truckstop News to find out. All of my Truckstop News articles appear on my firm’s website at www.hinchliffes.co.uk in the “Latest News” blog link on the homepage.  To read them (or indeed any page on the website) in your preferred language simply select the Google Translate feature that appears at the top right of each page of the website.  You do not have to be a professional driver to seek our help, anyone hurt in an accident can contact us for advice. Steven Hinchliffe, solicitor and Principal of Hinchliffes Solicitors © Copyright 2015 Hinchliffes Solicitors PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM SOLICITORS:- If you have suffered any form of accident or contracted an industrial disease contact personal injury claims specialists Hinchliffes Solicitors for immediate legal advice, to find out if you are entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation.  All cases are conducted on a No Win No Fee and No Risk basis. Call now on Freephone 0800 138 1348 or by landline 01684 580900 to speak direct to one of our specialist claims lawyers or go to our Start Your Claim  page to submit details of your accident compensation claim online. If you would like to know what your injury claim may be worth, please go to our Value Your … Continue reading

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INSURERS ADMIT LIABILITY FOR ACCIDENT BUT THEN OFFER REDUCED COMPENSATION – PART 1

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