Monday, February 04, 2013
Legal funding helps client achieve 3-fold increase in compensation
Mr M was a self-employed sheep shearer. While working on a farm, he was asked by the owner of the farm to enter an area between two pens which was secured by a gate which could be opened and closed by pulling a rope. The rope had a hook on it to secure it in place when not being used. Unfortunately, as Mr M went to pull the rope, the hook sprung loose and struck him in the eye.
Mr M now suffers from permanent eye damage and is at high risk of developing secondary glaucoma.
Mr M asked Digby Brown to investigate and pursue a claim against the farm to compensate him for his injuries. Following the advice of Digby Brown, Mr M rejected pre-litigation offers of £3,000 and £4,500 and proceeded to litigation. Immediately after court proceedings were raised, the farm's insurers made an offer of £12,000 - 300% more than their initial offer. Without the backing of legal expense insurance to protect Mr M in the event he failed to beat the previous offers, he would not have been able to proceed to litigation and instead been forced to accept one of the unfairly low offers the farms' insurers orginally put forward.
The robust approach adopted by Digby Brown and our refusal to put Mr M in a position of accepting less than we felt he was legally entitled to meant that the insurers had no option but to advance an offer that truly reflected what Mr M was entitled to.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Value added - for Clients and Referrers
Case Study: Digby Brown achieve £70,000 settlement following original valuation of £2,500
The pursuer was involved in a rear end, collision on a motorway slip road. Her previous agent had obtained a medical opinion from a GP. On the basis of that opinion Ms James was advised by her original agents that her claim would be valued in the region of £2500, despite the fact that they had not yet secured any offer.
The pursuer was not happy with that advice. She felt that it did not properly reflect the extent of her ongoing symptoms, her psychological reaction or the urological symptoms she had developed since the accident. However, neither the pursuer nor her previous agents were able fund further reports.
Following a favourable recommendation from a previous Digby Brown client, the pursuer transferred the agency in her claim to Digby Brown. With the benefit of funding provided by Compensate, Digby Brown were able to obtain several reports from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, A consultant Psychiatrist and a Consultant Urologist. In addition Digby Brown were able to fully investigate the impact the accident had upon the pursuer’s preparation for the New York marathon and the assistance she required from her parents during her recovery. This further investigation resulted in an initial, pre-litigation, offer of £38,050.
At this stage, Digby Brown were able to advise the pursuer that this offer was too low and that Compensate would be prepared to fund a Court action. Compensate protected the pursuer against the risk of paying the defenders’ judicial expenses in the event that the offer could not be beaten. An action was raised in the Court of Session. A tender in the sum of £70,000 was immediately lodged in response to the Court action. This offer was accepted by the pursuer. This represents an 83% increase in the pre-litigation offer and a 2800% increase over the value originally assessed by her previous agents. Had she accepted an offer of £2,500, the original agents would have received a fee from the insurers of around £1,400 and would have left themselves open to a claim for professional negligence.
By referring this case through the Compensate Network, we estimate that the original agents would have received a share of the success fee in the region of £2,800 plus VAT and a proportionate share of the judicial fees which may have amounted to a further £1,000-£2,000 (taking into account the short duration of the action). More importantly had the original agents referred the case, they would have retained their relationship with the client.
Compensate referral after stalemate results in 3x increase in offer
Case study: Compensate referral after stalemate results in 3x increase in offer
This matter was referred to Digby Brown LLP by Messrs Scullion Law of Hamilton, as part of their membership of the Compensate Network. A frustrated local man had consulted them for a second opinion on the advice he had received from two previous agents.
His case had dragged on since 2005 and he had been advised to accept a Tender of £5,000 net of benefits. Following the intervention of Scullion Law and Digby Brown LLP, the case settled for £17,000 net of £13,000 benefits. This represented a more than threefold increase.
The client suffered a soft tissue injury to his back following a fall down a steep cellar staircase on a night out to his local pub on 18 July 2005. He was initially unable to return to manual work as a bricklayer's labourer. He became depressed. In addition to significant difficulties in relation to liability, the case was complex as the client’s depression interfered with his perception of pain. The client had a poor employment history and was susceptible to psychiatric problems.T
The pub maintained a long standing denial that they were liable to make a payment to the client. The action settled one week before the a 3 day hearing was scheduled to take place at Hamilton Sherrif Court. The case gathered pace upon the instruction of the Digby Brown. The pursuer’s new legal team were successful in carrying out extensive amendments to the written pleadings 4 years beyond the date of time bar. A detailed Vicarious and Occupier’s Liability case was developed. Compensate were able to fund reports from a Consultant Orthopeadic Surgeon, a Consultant Psychiatrist, a Vocational Consultant and a Health and Safety Consultant. It was argued that cellar door was not properly adapted with a keeper handle so that when it was unlocked, it could open freely when patrons leaned against it.
Even though the client’s judgement was undoubtedly affected by alcohol, it was submitted that the bar ought to have foreseen that drinkers in a narrow corridor may lean against the door in these circumstances. The door was directly across from the ladies toilets and could easily have be mistaken for the gents. The bar ought to have carried out a risk assessment and staff should have been instructed to keep the door locked. It was also submitted that there should have been a larger landing on the other side of the door and that there ought to have been a lift up type barrier on the other side of the door. The client had a lucky escape: in July 2010, 36 year old James Teasdale plunged to his death down a flight of cellar stairs in very similar circumstances in Zest Bar, Scarborough. In that case, the pub landlord was found guilty of manslaughter and was jailed for 2 years.