Even if you have been fortunate enough to have never been involved in a road traffic accident, the chances are you may know someone who has.
Whilst most road traffic accident claims are often straightforward in terms of proving who is liable for the accident, proving that an injury occurred, if the impact was relatively minor, can at times produce particularly complex legal and practical issues.
A Claimant bringing a claim for compensation for Personal Injury where damage to their vehicle may only have been relatively minimal may find themselves met with the Defendant alleging that the velocity of the impact was not significant enough to have caused any injury or that the injury suffered was itself, minimal. This allegation may be made even though the Claimant has obtained expert medical evidence proving the contrary. The Defendant may also allege that the Claimant has been Fundamentally Dishonest.
This is a very serious situation for any Claimant to find themselves in as an allegation of Fundamental Dishonesty, if proven, can lead to the claim essentially being struck out, the Claimant having to pay the Defendant’s legal costs and in some rare cases, the Claimant being prosecuted for contempt of Court and being sent to prison.
Here at Bell Lax, our knowledge and expertise surrounding these types of claims, have meant we have made successful Applications to the Court in certain cases, preventing the Defendant from maintaining allegations of low velocity impact where they have failed to comply with the procedures set out in the leading cases of Kearsley v Klarfeld and Casey v Cartwright, outlined below.
- The Court of Appeal in the case of Kearsley v Klarfeld established that Defendants should inform Claimants that they are treating their case as an LVI claim as early as possible. Many Defendants fail to make this allegation until much later on in the litigation process.
- The Defendant is also required to expressly identify their LVI allegation in their Defence and serve a witness statement in support of the allegation within 21 days of filing the Defence. Again, many Defendants fail to serve such evidence.
- The Defendant should also make it clear that if the case is being treated as an LVI case, it should be allocated to the Multi-Track.
Most Road Traffic Accidents where the value of the claim is £25,000 or less are allocated to the Fast Track and are therefore subject to fixed costs, however due to their complexity LVI claims are meant to be allocated to the Multi Track where costs are not fixed. It is no surprise that a Defendant might avoid proposing that a claim is allocated to the Multi Track as their exposure to costs would increase significantly.
Getting a case like this successfully allocated to the Multi-Track however, means that the Claimant’s solicitors can carry out far more extensive investigations, interview all relevant witnesses in depth and if necessary, obtain expert evidence from a collision investigator.
Most importantly, it enables the Claimant’s solicitors to ensure that if such serious allegations are made, the Defendant makes them at the earliest stage and that the allegations are specific. Our focus is on ensuring that all cases are tried fairly and that if such allegations are unfounded, they are dismissed. In our experience, such allegations are often made simply to deter the Claimant from continuing with their case given the very grave implications of such a finding.
If you or someone you care about has the need for a specialist lawyer to advise on their options following an accident or clinical negligence, please feel free to contact one of our team for a free no obligation discussion on 0121 355 0011.