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DWF obtain a 40% reduction in liability; a case involving a motorcycle v car accident and allegations of Chronic Pain.

11 August 2023
When all might appear challenging for the Defendant, there is still hope for a successful defence if the case is handled methodically and with a forensic eye.

In this case primary liability was admitted, however, contributory negligence and causation remained in issue. The Claimant alleged posterior fractures, fractured ribs and lung and liver injuries and severe disability. The Claimant claimed significant care, and alleged that he was unable to work again.

Prior to the List of Documents, we ensured all records from the Claimant including GP, Hospital, DWP and HMRC records were disclosed. This revealed that the Claimant had long periods of unemployment prior to the accident. Furthermore, medical records revealed a long history of drug use. We served a Hearsay Notice in respect of the Claimant's medical history highlighting the contradictions in the Claimant's own evidence. Independent witness statements implied that the Claimant was riding his motorcycle too fast and the police report revealed that the Claimant was under the influence of drugs at the time of the index accident.

The Claimant's Pain Management Consultant diagnosed him with Neuropathic Pain and opined that he was unlikely to see improvement of more than 40% and that the Claimant would suffer from pain permanently. The Defendant's Pain Consultant did not share the same opinion and the Claimant's presentation was significantly complicated by the presence of non-organic / biopsychosocial factors with misattribution of symptoms.  The Defendant's experts provided a list of jobs that the Claimant might reasonably be expected to do.

The case proceeded to a Round Table Meeting ('RTM'). At the outset, the Claimant's Counsel accepted that the Claimant was ‘a little bit liable’ and consequently the Defendant's Offer of 40/60% in favour of the Claimant.

In respect of quantum, although the Claimant's Schedule of Loss was pleaded at over £700k, the Claimant agreed to settle for £180,000 in respect of damages. The CRU charges totalled £82,872.44, for which a full refund was obtained by DWF on the basis that, the CRU charges could not be causally linked to the injuries sustained from the accident, based on the Claimant's pre accident medical history, long periods of unemployment and drug abuse.

This case highlights the importance of taking a methodical approach, taking steps to break down elements of the claim in order. A Forensic analysis of the records and a keen eye for detail when considering witness and medical evidence is required in order to respond robustly and obain a favourable outcome for a Defendant.

If you are looking to place chronic pain cases, please contact John Lezemore or Fatima Kanth at John.Lezemore@dwf.law and Fatima.Kanth@dwf.law

Further Reading