A recent case study:
Offer to client who suffered life-changing injuries increased from £250,000 to £2.3 million
A young girl, Emma (not her real name, but for obvious reasons this has been changed), had a car accident when she was driving her parents’ car home one evening. She had just found out she had been offered a job, and was looking forward to telling them. Without warning, she encountered a car on the wrong side of the road as she went round a corner, and there was a head on collision. She sustained a fractured pelvis, fractured legs and a head injury. She was air-lifted to hospital.
Emma was left with no memory at all of the accident, and a brain injury. Her parents were contacted by their car insurer, and they were put in touch with a solicitor, who acted for them using a no win no fee agreement.
After around 15 months, Emma’s parents contacted Ben Posford (Head of Catastrophic Injury at Osbornes Law). They had received a recommendation from a friend, and then used google to see what was said about Ben online.
Ben went to visit the family. They had recently been threatened with bankruptcy, and only one of the parents could work. The other had given up work to look after their daughter, who was not safe left on her own because of the extent of her brain injury. They had no support, no carers, little by way of therapies, and had received no financial assistance through the claim (called interim payments).
The insurer acting for the other driver had not been pressed for a liability admission, but had made a settlement offer of £250,000, and Emma’s solicitor was pressing the family to accept the offer. This had prompted the family to seek a second opinion from Ben, who advised that he had no doubt at all that the offer was woefully low. More importantly, none of the key expert evidence had been obtained, so they had little idea about Emma’s prognosis and what care and accommodation she might need in the future. Nor had they had the ability to trial various care options to see what would work.
Emma’s parents told Ben they wanted him to act for her. Ben gave them a form to sign, giving him authority to ask the former solicitor for all their files. The parents did not need to speak to their former solicitor themselves to do this. The former solicitor agreed to hand over all their files and in return Ben promised to recover their costs for them at the end of the claim. This is standard practice, and is called a lien agreement. The former solicitor did not charge anything to the parents to transfer the claim, and again this is normal practice. It took about two weeks from signing the form for the file to be transferred.
Ben was able to act under a no win no fee agreement for Emma and her parents. He arranged for liability to be formally admitted, large interim payments to be made, a clinical brain injury case manager to be appointed, and a range of private therapists were brought in along with a speech and language therapist and a neurological OT.
A care regime was established with support workers, and Emma trialled living independently with this support in place. She was also enrolled at college with one to one support, and was able to access voluntary work.
Ben instructed some of the country’s best medicolegal experts to help with the claim, to include a neuropsychologist, neuropsychiatrist, lower limb surgeon, neurologist, neuro-physiotherapist, and a range of other experts such as in the fields of care, OT and accommodation.
As a result of putting everything in place that should have been done from the outset, and having originally advised Emma and her parents not to accept the offer of £252,000, Ben was able to secure a final damages award of £2,300,000.