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How would the proposed personal injury reforms have affected some of our clients

There has been a great deal of media coverage of the proposed PI reforms and how they may affect genuinely injured claimants.

Whilst claimants will be deprived of the right to make an injury claim without legal representation, the Government will not be bringing in any laws to compel insurers to reduce the costs of premiums.

Thorneycroft Solicitors Director Michael Coghlan comments “On being informed by me of the proposed changes, a number of clients whom we have represented were both shocked and dismayed that their rights were being removed in this way and agreed that we could use their cases as public examples of how difficult and unreasonable insurers can be”.

  1. Jason Carriere, of Southampton was extremely upset about the fact that the insurers refused to admit liability on his case, which he believed was open and shut. We had to issue proceedings and take it all the way to trial complying along the way with Directions and on the day of trial, the Defendant and his passenger witness, whom the Claimant had always alleged were lying about the accident circumstances, simply failed to turn up and judgement was awarded in his favour. He was very grateful to us for our help, without which he said he would have given up.As for trusting insurers to value a claim, they offered £2,900 plus the write off value of his car at £3,600, so £6,500 in total. If they were correct the claim would have been comfortably within the proposed small claims limit of £5,000. At court he was awarded £9000, so the insurers had undervalued his personal injury claim by £2,500, as well as denying his claim for a year and a half and forcing him to trial.
  2. Ashley Jones, a serving soldier who is presently stationed at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, also had his claim rejected by insurers who abjectly failed to check out their insured’s version of events properly. The Defendant had reversed into the Claimant giving rise to a personal injury claim valued at £2,200 and vehicle losses of £900. He was off work for 9 days due to his neck and lower back injuries, and it took 6 months for him to fully recover.The Claimant was very worried about the claim for the 17 months it took until the Defendant insurers finally conceded liability. They only did so after we issued proceedings and they then clearly couldn’t get a statement off their insured at the stage of exchanging witness evidence. The Claimant stated to me very clearly that without our legal advice and assistance he would have had to have given up on his claim and justice would not have prevailed as it did. The sum rightly awarded to him of £3,100 may not be much to some, but it was to Ashley, and it reduced his car premiums as he recovered his insurers outlay as part of his vehicle losses, so his record is now clean.
  3. Lastly, I have just settled a claim for, by co-incidence, an ex- soldier who was medically discharged by the army several years ago due to sustaining a brain injury and struggles greatly with memory loss and difficulty dealing with paperwork. Other than this he is sound of mind, but when he was involved in a road traffic accident just over 3 years ago and sustained a back injury lasting 18 months which eventually attracted an award of £4,000, the Defendant’s insurers refused to make any offers in settlement.They were not disputing liability, but were instead relying upon a technicality which occurred due to the Claimant’s memory problems and failure to deal with paperwork. This had led to proceedings being issued by the hire company who had hired him a car, without his claim for personal injury being included. Once this had settled, and despite me explaining to the insurer about the disability that he had, they relied upon this as technically it is an abuse of process to issue another claim and if we did so they threatened to strike us out. It was only after we took the risk of supporting Sean and issuing proceedings 3 years after his accident that an offer was finally forthcoming and the matter settled. There is little doubt that Sean would have been unable to successfully pursue his £4000 claim without our help.

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