While the number of road traffic accidents declined again last year, the number of personal injury claims involving RTAs has gone up, according to insurance industry analysts.
Research says that Brits drove less last year in in an effort to reduce the amount of cash they had to spend on petrol, with the knock-on effect being that there were 11 per cent fewer injurious car accidents in 2011. However, the number of car accident claims related to road accidents did not follow this trend but actually increased by 18 per cent, indicating that a growing number of those involved in RTAs are looking for personal injury compensation – with whiplash claims being one of the most common.
If these trends continue over the course of 2012 and beyond, the results could be disastrous for not just the insurance industry but the motoring public, as a projected cost increase of £400 million annually for insurers would mean even more premium price increases for motorists as insurers seek to recover their increased costs from their policyholders. However, there is currently legislation being considered by the government that could lead to a cap being placed on the amount law firms and claims management companies can be paid for representing personal injury clients by banning ‘success fees’ from being paid by the losing side and instead requiring law firms to take their payment from the compensation payouts of their clients.
Such a plan could curb rampant ‘ambulance chasing’ behaviour that many have accused the personal injury law community of engaging in, experts say, which drives up claims volume to the point of bringing spurious or even fraudulent injury claims.
A woman left seriously injured in the wake of a crash whilst abroad in Poland has launched a car accident claim for in excess of £300,000 in personal injury compensation, according to a writ recently submitted to the High Court of London.
Katarzyna Cieslar, of Huddersfield, had been riding in the back seat of a Fiat Punto when it collided with a BMW at a crossroads in Poland, causing her to sustain several severe injuries. The 28 year old woman, who resides at Jagger Lane, Honley, has filed personal injury claims against an insurance company based in Warsaw named Powszecbby Zaklad Ubezpiczen.
Ms Cieslar’s legal team claim that the insurance firm, which covered Michal Cieslar, the Fiat’s driver, and are required to cover him against the injuries his actions caused to Ms Cieslar, are bound by Polish Law for the road traffic accident that occurred in February of 2010. Mr Cieslar, who faced a conviction in June of 2011 as a result of the RTA, was granted a suspended jail sentence and three years’ worth of probation by the Polish courts.
Ms Cieslar claims that the injuries she sustained in the accident include fractures to the sacral bones located in her back, complex fractures to her right leg, a fractured left collar bone, an injured pelvis, a fractured neck, and a brain injury as well. The young woman still suffers pain from her devastating injuries to this day.
Mr Cieslar was negligent, according to the High Court writ, and is liable for the accident due to his failure to keep a proper lookout before turning into the BMW’s path.
One cyclist that was paralysed following a devastating road traffic accident has gone in search of a personal injury compensation award in excess of £300,000 from the driver that struck him, it was recently reported.
According to an article published in the South Wales Argus newspaper, Chespstow native Dan Black, twenty four years old, had been cycling on his way to work when Patrick Barrett, of Sedbury, struck him with his car. The cyclist sustained a myriad of injuries in the incident, including skull, collar bone, and rib fractures, as well as damage to his kidney and spleen; most serious was the broken vertebra and damaged artery that he suffered, which left him paralysed and suffering from a stroke respectively, requiring spending five weeks in a medically-induced coma in order to facilitate his recovery.
Mr Black had been entertaining plans to pursue a military career by joining the army before his horrific accident. However, these plans have now been dashed, and as a result, the paralysed man, after taking legal advice, has made a claim against Mr Barrett for more than £300,000 on the grounds that the driver had negligently attempted to make a right turn while it had not been safe to do so.
Mr Barrett’s team of defence lawyers has plans to argue that Mr Black bears a measure of responsibility for the injuries he sustained. The cyclist, according to the defendant, neglected to display adequate lights during the hours of darkness, had been riding at too high a rate of speed, and failed to keep a proper lookout – all things that could reduce or even eliminate the amount of compensation to be made available to him.
After comparing a twenty year old man to his twin brother in order to determine how much personal injury compensation he should be entitled to, the twin – disabled as the result from a road traffic accident at the age of eight – has recently been awarded £2.5 million, car accident claim experts recently reported.
Sam Boreham, who was left injured after the RTA 12 years ago, sustained devastating and permanent brain damage when the car he was traveling in struck a stationary one on the M1 motoroway. The insurers of the driver have reached a settlement with Sam, who will receive an immediate £1.1 million lump sum payment, along with £23,000 annually for the rest of his life in order to provide for his lifetime care needs.
At the High Court hearing to determine the level of compensation due to Mr Boreham, the injured man’s legal team stated that the possibility of a settlement being reached had been prevented by an inability to determine the full extent of the injuries he suffered to his brain until Mr Boreham reached adulthood. However, the unique nature of the case, which involved Mr Boreham’s twin brother who had emerged unscathed from the incident, gave medical professionals an exact benchmark to gauge the injured man’s development, thus making it possible to pinpoint the nature and severity of the trauma he suffered to his brain.
In related news, another individual injured in the crash also resolved her own personal battle to receive a compensation payout. Rosie Mayes, who is now tetraplegic following the accident, was finally given an undisclosed sum understood to be in the seven figures in order to pay for her intensive care needs, experts say.
One paralysed student from Sheffield was recently awarded personal injury compensation in the wake of a car accident, as the RTA has left her with injuries that will require lifelong care.
South Yorkshire native Rosie Mayes had been only twenty years of age when she was involved in a road traffic accident involving a car that was driven by her former boyfriend that left the road and collided with an embankment, coming to rest on its roof. According to motor accident claim experts writing for the Bourne Local newspaper, Ms Mayes was trapped within the car wreck for one half-hour as emergency services strove to free her from the wreckage before rushing the injured York University student to hospital.
Ms Mayes, who had been pursuing a a history degree, suffered severe spinal damage in the accident, spent more than ten months in hospital as she recovered. However, the young woman is now confined to a wheelchair due to her tetraplegia and now needs 24 hour a day care.
The insurance company for the driver of the car was named as a defendant in Ms Mayes’ compensation claim, resulting in a lifelong care cost award made to the paralysed student for what could turnout to be worth millions of pounds. Ms Mayes’ father, who spoke to the press in the wake of the hearing at the High Court in Leeds where her daughter was awarded the right to compensation, described Ms Mayes as an inspiring figure, as she has returned to her studies at university, demonstrating the determination to continue to live her life regardless of her debilitating injuries.
A family from Hampshire recently launched a motor accident claim for the injuries sustained by a young schoolboy after he was knocked down by a car, with the boy’s parents seeking in excess of £300,000 in personal injury compensation, experts say.
Troy Brooks, eleven years of age, had been trying to cross Hampton Lane after leaving Blackfield Junior School so he could meet his mother when he was involved in the traffic collision. In the wake of the RTA, young Troy was rushed to the Southampton General Hospital for treatment, regaining consciousness after ten days in a coma only to discover that he had been left with permanent brain damage from a bleed on the brain, according to the family’s personal injury claims.
An article recently appearing in the Daily Echo newspaper reported that Troy’s family has made a claim against the Fawley native Sophie Lennards, the nineteen year old driver of the vehicle, for negligence by exceeding the speed limit and for not taking steps to avoid the collision. Rona Brooks, Troy’s forty four year old mother, said in an interview with the newspaper that the family’s life was completely destroyed by the accident, and that their existence had been ‘worse than a nightmare’ ever since.
If successful in their compensation claim, the Brooks family could stand to receive a substantial damages award for not only young Troy’s pain and suffering but to provide for the child’s medical needs for the foreseeable future as a result of the injuries he sustained in the traffic collision.
One Londoner was recently awarded £750,000 in damages in a successful car accident claim due to the serious personal injuries she sustained in a multi-vehicle RTA, industry experts report.
Devbai Patel, a sixty year old residing in Neasden on Carnfield Avenue, had been struck by a truck that had hit a brick wall after it collided with a Peugot that had been sent careering out of control with its own collision with a Vauxhall on Neasden’s North Circular Road. The freak series of events killed the driver of the truck and injured Mrs Patel, according to the mother of four’s personal injury claims.
In a recent article in the Brent and Kilburn Times newspaper, it was reported that the sixty year old woman sustained serious and life altering injuries due to the accident, including but not limited to several fractured bones and a severe injury to the head with left her with serious brain damage. Thanks to the aid of Kunverji, her husband, Mrs Patel launched a personal injury compensation claim against the insurance provider of the individual who had been driving the Vauxhall at the time the accident was initiated in all its deadly, Rube Goldberg-like glory.
The insurers admitted full liability for the accident and entered into a settlement agreement with Mrs Patel, who received £750,000 in a lump sum payment. The sixty year old mother of four will also receive tax free, index linked payments annually of £25,000 in order to cover the cost of the care she now requires for the remainder of her life.
The Vauxhall’s driver faced criminal charges of causing death by dangerous driving and was convicted of the offence.
In an effort to reduce the number of motor accident claims that are being made in the UK, the Government is examining whether encouraging the use of new technology, such as telematics-based insurance, to gather information on motoring habits.
Telematics, or ‘black box’ technology, has been offered by insurers in increasing numbers as of late, as the device, similar to a satnav, keeps track of a motorist’s performance behind the wheel and rewards good drivers with lowered rates – and bad ones with higher ones. As the technology would purportedly lead to drivers behaving themselves behind the wheel in greater numbers in order to earn deep discounts, the Government is banking on it to reduce the number of RTAs that occur on UK roadways, which would in turn reduce the number of personal injury claims as well.
Many industry experts also say that the data gathered by insurers could also play a dual role in reducing the number of massive personal injury compensation payouts. If a claimant can be proven beyond a doubt to have been engaging in motoring behaviour that contributed to their accident, the amount of compensation they are entitled to is reduced – and with insurers keeping records of motorists’ activities behind the wheel, claimants can be called out for exceeding the speed limit or driving recklessly prior to the incident for which they’re making a compensation claim.
The only downside, some detractors say, is that Brits may be trading their privacy for safety. However, proponents of the technology point out that a motorist is in public whilst behind the wheel, and the telematics technology cannot exactly ring your mum to tell them you were out too late at the pub the night before.
One maintenance fitter was injured on the M1 motorway as the wheeled excavator he was operating was involved in an RTA by striking an overhead bridge, motor accident claim experts recently reported.
The man, whose name has not been released to the press due to concerns regarding his privacy, had been employed by Van Elle Ltd, a Nottinghamshire-based engineering contractor, when his vehicle’s boom struck the bridge and sent him careering through the open front screen of the vehicle and right over the steering wheel, according to his personal injury claims. The man’s head then struck the front excavator blade of the vehicle, sustaining injuries so severe that he spent two weeks in a coma and then an additional five months’ worth of rehabilitation.
The injured man has ultimately returned to work. However, as he still has reduced function in his left leg and arm, he is still receiving physiotherapy.
Shortly after the incident, the Government’s Health and Safety Executive investigated the man’s injuries, discovering that not only had the employee not been given adequate training on how to use the excavator safely, but he had also not been wearing his seat belt prior to the accident. It was additionally made known that the injured worker had only been behind the wheel as the regular driver was not available, leading him to stand in for him.
Pinxton, Nottinghamshire firm Van Elle Ltd, was prosecuted by the HSE at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court, which led to a fine of £12,750 and a total of £29,660 in court costs for the company after it admitted to breaching health and safety regulations related to the use of work equipment.
The driver of a car has fled the scene of a RTA which left a motorcyclist seriously injured, leading police to appeal for information regarding the driver’s identity and location, accident claim experts say.
According to personal injury claims documents, the incident occurred on the night of 20 January at approximately 9pm when a motorcycle and a silver car were involved in a collision in Chigwell on the A113 Abridge Road near the Pudding Lane junction. The 51 year old motorcycle rider was rushed to Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone. The Hackney, east London man is listed as in a stable condition as the serious leg injuries he sustained in the accident are treated.
While the identity of the hit-and-run driver is a mystery, and therefore the insurer that covers his vehicle is not known, this will not preclude the injured man from seeking damages. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau, an organisation funded by the insurance industry, is available to provide compensation to victims struck and injured by unknown or uninsured vehicles.
A spokesman for the Essex Police commented on the incident, remarking that the only known information regarding the vehicle that struck the motorcyclist is that it is believed to be coloured silver. The front headlight and driver’s door of the vehicle will have fresh damage as well, the spokesman added, as he appealed for anyone with any knowledge of the location of the car to contact the Essex Police as soon as possible.
Individuals with information related to the car crash are welcome to place an anonymous call to Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111, or to get into contact with Chigwell Road Policing Unit on 101.