Why expert legal advice mattered for injured motorcyclist

Man standing and looking out to sea

Our team of Motorcycle personal injury solicitors represented a 20-year-old local man after he was involved in a life changing motorcycle accident.   

A car driver had reversed from a driveway onto the main street and collided with our client and his motorcycle, causing serious injuries.

While he was still critically ill in hospital, his family contacted Lianda Barnes, partner in our Kirkcaldy office, who specialises in Motorcycle Accident Claims. Once the medical staff had operated to save his life, we arranged an initial needs assessments to consider what help he would need to cope with his physical injuries once he had left the hospital.

Our solicitors approached the other party’s insurer for financial assistance and helped the family deal with what was to be done with his motorcycle.  We met our client at home, to help walk him through the various steps of making a claim, and to reassure him of the processes and to help make things as simple as possible.

As a result of the accident, our client had to be resuscitated in the hospital and was diagnosed with lacerations to his spleen, injuries to his lungs, and multiple fractures to his legs, pelvic injuries and post-concussion syndrome. He went on to develop an adjustment disorder and anxiety.

“The injuries had big impact on my life as I was quite an active person and to be told a list of things I could no longer do was hard to take. It was a long recovery time and huge amounts of time were spent indoors and this had a big impact on my relationships with family and friends and my mental state.”

The car driver’s insurers had originally challenged liability, with the car driver suggesting that our client had been travelling too fast. We undertook investigations to demonstrate that our client was not at fault.

After around six months our motorcycle accident solicitors persuaded the car driver’s insurer to admit liability in full. Our client obtained interim payments from the insurers to help financially whilst he was unfit for work. The serious nature of his injuries meant his future recovery from his injuries was unclear.

Suzanne Hedderman, Associate in our Kirkcaldy office, is experienced in complex injuries. She knew a number of experts were likely to be needed due to the nature of his injuries. In the end, we had reports from nine experts. This included a Consultant General Surgeon, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Consultant Respiratory Surgeon, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Consultant Psychiatrist, expert care report, a report from a Vocational Consultant and a Pension report.

“Digby Brown helped me a lot with my recovery, looking at solutions to problems and alternative recovery methods. Along with seeking medical advice from leading specialists to help plan future steps, they also helped me understand the importance of looking into the future rather than there and then.”

His injuries resulted in our client being left with a permanent disability. The medical evidence showed that he would most likely need a knee replacement in his 40’s and he may need a number of replacements after that. With each subsequent joint replacement, the risks increase and the recovery worsens.

The seriousness of the injuries meant our client had a significant past and future loss of earnings claim, a pension loss claim and future care costs claim. Due to his injuries, he was at a disadvantage when looking for new job and was unable to apply for certain jobs.

The car driver’s insurer made an offer of £250,000, this included the interim payments he had already received. 

We were able to advise our client that this offer significantly undervalued his claim. Insurers often try to pressure seriously injured claimants into under settling their claims. This was a large amount of money for a young man with life changing injuries.

We arranged to meet with Senior Counsel who reiterated the advice that the offer was not enough.

However, our client was still unsure. The offer was a life-changing sum of money and like many others who have been injured in a crash, he was keen to move on from the accident.

Suzanne Hedderman, Associate in our Kirkcaldy office, met with our client at his home again, to discuss the offer as we felt so strongly that to accept this offer would be to significantly under-settle his claim. 

Our client decided to accept our advice and reject that offer. Suzanne raised a court action against the car driver’s insurers to make sure our client had the best possible chance of receiving the compensation he was entitled to.

A formal court offer was then received for the same sum, £250,000.  Again, our advice was that this offer should be rejected and the court action continued. Our client agreed.

The case proceeded to a pre-trial meeting with the insurers.  At this meeting, a settlement of £500,000, including the interim payments, was agreed, which was double the initial offer.

Our client expressed his gratitude for our advice to reject the earlier offers.  A personal injury claim never really compensates someone fully when they suffer such significant long-term injuries but we were delighted we could recover a sum that went some way to reflect the impact that the accident had on his life. The award reflected payment for his pain and suffering, as well as full compensation for the financial losses our client sustained.

“The advice I received in regards to offers was absolutely faultless. I was absolutely certain I was taking the first offer and was strongly advised not to take it, my solicitor even dropped everything and visited me at my home to discuss the offer further. When my case settled, I received double what was originally offered.

“The settlement has allowed me to do the things I had originally missed out on doing due to the accident, typical things you do in your early 20s like travelling, and has allowed me not to worry about the effects of the accident on my future as much as they would have without this compensation.”

Access to proper legal funding of his case through Compensate ensured we were able to obtain reports from all the right experts and that, together with our expertise, helped ensure he was properly compensated for his accident. 

“My advice for anyone in the same situation would be not to look back into the past and at what you can no longer do, but to look at what you can do now and focus on your future.”