Insurers imply personal injury claim is fraudulent
Mrs Robertson was injured when she was driving in Kirkcaldy. She had been driving her car and was stationary at a give-way junction when another driver collided with the rear of her car, pushing her over the give way lines.
Mrs Robertson was attended to by paramedics at the scene and the next day she went to Accident and Emergency due to back and neck pain. In the weeks that followed she needed to attend her GP for treatment and underwent a course of physiotherapy.
Straightforward personal injury claim
Mrs Robertson consulted Digby Brown Solicitors in Kirkcaldy to assist her in making a claim for personal injury.
This was a case which had initially appeared relatively straight forward The other driver appeared to be at fault as Mrs Robertson had been stationary when he collided with the rear of her vehicle.
Proving that Mrs Robertson sustained an injury also did not initially appear overly complex. Mrs Robertson had complained of injuries from the outset. She had been treated by paramedics at the scene and later the hospital, her GP and a physiotherapist.
Insurer ignore claim
The claim was intimated to the other driver’s insurer, however, no position on liability was ever received from them.
After 5-6 months of writing to the insurer to no avail Mrs Robertson had no choice but to raise court proceedings.
Court action using no win no fee
As she had signed up to Digby Brown’s no win no fee funding package, Compensate, all court fees were paid by Digby Brown – she wasn’t asked to pay a penny towards legal expenses throughout the case.
Once a court action was raised the other driver and his insurers introduced for the first time the argument of "low velocity impact" (LVI).
Effectively the insurers were arguing that the force of the collision was so minor that no injury could have occurred and that our client was lying and behaving fraudulently.
The effect of an LVI argument is to attack the character and credibility of the injured party.
Allegations of fraudulent personal injury claim
Any allegations of fraud must be taken seriously. They could have a significant impact on a person’s life and work. Due to the seriousness of their allegations and the consequences this could have for Mrs Robertson the decision was made to instruct an independent Advocate to assist with the case and provide advice to Mrs Robertson.
Engineer says no damage to vehicle means no injury
The other driver’s insurer sought to rely on the fact there was no obvious damage to their vehicle. They instructed an engineer to comment on the nature of the damage and whether Mrs Robertson could have been injured. The engineer in question stated that there was no damage to their client’s vehicle and as such considered the speed at the point of impact to be 1-2mph. His opinion was that Mrs Robertson could not have sustained an injury.
Expert medical practitioner says injury is possible
Our own considered position in this case was that the most appropriate expert to consider whether Mrs Robertson suffered an injury was not an engineer but was in fact an expert medical practitioner.
In this case, our Kirkcaldy personal injury lawyers instructed an orthopaedic surgeon. The opinion of the orthopaedic surgeon was that there was little or no correlation between the presence or degree of physical damage to a vehicle and likelihood of an occupant suffering an injury.
The orthopaedic surgeon’s opinion was that change of velocity of around 2.5mph is sufficient to cause someone an injury whereas a change of velocity of 8.5mph is required to cause vehicle damage.
An important factor was also that research replied on by the other driver’s engineer was based solely on men who had been in accidents when in fact women are more likely to sustain a whiplash injury than men.
More and more insurers implying injury claims are fraudulent
It is becoming more and more common for insurers to try and rely on the "low velocity impact" argument. Allegations of LVI should be taken incredibly seriously as they are effectively alleging that the injured party is acting fraudulently.
It is crucial that expert legal advice is obtained in these instances. Digby Brown have significant expertise in dealing with such arguments. In this case it was crucial that we could prove she sought medical attention very soon after the accident and her complaints had been consistent throughout.
In Mrs Robertson's case our expertise ensured we were successful in negotiating a settlement with the defenders in the sum of £3,000. This represented a full recovery of her personal injury claim.
"The services I received from Digby Brown was excellent. They could not have done more for me and I was over the moon with the outcome. I wouldn't have known where to begin but I left it in their capable hands."