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Securing a hard-fought settlement for a seriously injured motorcyclist

Mark Ellis

In 2017 our client was stationary at traffic lights on his motorcycle when he was hit from behind by an individual driving a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, our client sustained serious multiple fractures to his shoulder and to his pelvis which adversely affected his ability to work.

Our immediate focus at the outset was to secure funding for our client’s rehabilitation but despite the straightforward circumstances of the accident, we had to fight hard to get it.

We were able to secure witness evidence to prove on the balance of probability that had it not been for the accident, our client would have been promoted to a more senior position, which significantly increased his loss of earnings and loss of pension settlement.

In addition, we were able to secure quite an unusual award of damages as part of the settlement that the accident had caused our client a ‘loss of congenial employment’ given that he could no longer return to his role, a role that he valued greatly.

As we fought hard to secure the maximum and appropriate level of compensation for our client, it became clear that the case was heading towards trial. At the negotiation stages of the claim, we advised our client that the offers that had been made by the opposition were not sufficient given the expert and witness evidence that had been collated in support of his claim.

In fact, on our advice our client walked away from a joint settlement meeting in London (a process which usually results in settlement) because he was advised that the final offer being made was insufficient and would likely be beaten at court if the judge assessed his claim. This was despite significant pressure from the defendant and the stresses that go hand in hand with attending court.

However, the rapport we had built with our client meant that he trusted the advice we gave and was willing to accept our advice to secure a more reasonable settlement.

Thankfully, as a court hearing approached, we were able to negotiate settlement of the claim at a much higher figure than that which our client had previously been offered, and he was very happy to accept a high six figure settlement towards the end of 2022.

This case shows that the combination of strong witness evidence and selecting experts with the right experience can be central to negotiating the correct award of compensation. It also demonstrates that firm negotiation with the defendant can (where the evidence allows) mean that appropriate offers of compensation are obtained to settle the claim.