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ericfield

Personal Injury Claim ...decision Moment.

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I would value opinions from the sages of this forum on a dilemma I face.

 

As some might recall my wife and I were involved in a head on crash in Italy last year when an Italian lost control and crossed into our lane. All official agencies have exonerated us.

 

We have been pursuing a no win-no fee personal injury claim, but as most of the companies advertising specify UK accidents only, we engaged a firm that supposedly specialise in overseas claims.

 

We listed our material losses, the main one being loss of earnings, and were examined by an independent specialist, organised by our solicitor.

 

The Italian insurers have not replied to any of my solicitors letters and it's now at the point where

he says we have to sign an agreement to take formal legal action against them.

 

His letter with the forms clearly states that we are signing to confirm everything that's being claimed is the truth. It points out that if during subsequent proceedings our claim or any part of the claim is deemed to be untrue. ... then the case might be dismissed as dishonest . ..and all costs could be set against us!!

 

Now that sent a wave of panic in the house. We have all seen TV court rooms and how clever barristers can twist and turn things. For example. .. I run my own business and was for several months unable to work at full capacity. I estimated my losses based on the year on year turnover drop for those recovery months. Now I KNOW that the drop was genuine. I KNOW I wasn't able to sit at my desk for longer than 20minutes without a lay down. But how do I prove to a tricky barrister that was true? And more importantly, is a judge likely to consider something that cannot be substantiated as untrue. ..and there for a dishonest statement!! Drop in sales between two years can be attributed to many things when legal twisting starts.

 

My wife is all for throwing in the towel. Her arguement is why risk our savings on the vaguery of the courts. We lost £5000 in earnings and other damages. We also suffered injuries but don't know what estimates for injury, pain and suffering have been claimed by the solicitor, assessors and doctors etc.

 

We are trying to decide whether to just write off these losses, forget the injuries and get on with our lives, or whether to risk the court process. Alternatively to exclude these material losses and get them to go for the pure injury part. This would be not our word . ..but the evidence of specialists and less likely to call our honesty into question.

 

It's starting to upset my wife again. The horror of the event and the memory of subsequent pain and discomfort flooding back.

 

But ours is a genuine claim and I feel a sense of unfairness that people can get thousands for whiplash and we are having to risk our life savings just to get back our actual losses.

 

Sorry this is starting to get to me as well. I know this is a game the legal system plays but the risk is ours.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by ericfield

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Your health is more important than money, if your good lady is worrying herself sick over it I think it may be time to throw in the towel.

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Your health is more important than money, if your good lady is worrying herself sick over it I think it may be time to throw in the towel.

Wise words.

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You have few, somewhat limited options, in my opinion.

 

Firstly, you can carry on, grit your teeth and maybe sometime down the road you might get a just settlement.

 

Secondly, you can throw in the towel. Yes, it means £5,000 loss, but that is not too much in todays world, although I realise it is still a substantial amount to many people. If it is making you and your wife ill, then forget it. Nothing can replace good health, and if the stress is such that your health suffers, even if you win, you lose, if you get what I mean.

 

Finally, you might just wish to try this. It is a long shot, and may not come to anything, but both Italy and ourselves are members of the EU (at the moment). You therefore have a Member of the European Parliament, or more than one, in the area you live. Look them up on google, and send them all the same email outlining what has happened and how unfair it is. These MEP's will be from different Party's, and so I would guess that they will at least try to be helpful. As I said, it may not come to anything, but an email costs nothing.

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Regardless of our membership of the EU I would be a little worried about any foreign court. It seems to me that they simply don't tend to function in the way we might expect.

 

My concerns would hinge on the time it would take to reach a decision of any kind, and then of course there might be an appeal process which would drag it out again.

While all this was ongoing the stress of not knowing the likely outcome and what it might cost you on top of the losses you have already incurred might not make it worth the effort or worry. Much as it gets in the craw that someone somewhere is getting away with it.

I would be puzzled why you haven't heard what your claim is likely to be in terms of injury as well as loss of earnings.

 

I would want much more info before I made what I would consider an educated decision.

 

The suggestion to approach your MEP might be sound - it might at least give you confidence in the system or otherwise.

 

But I have always lived by the Mantra ' When in doubt don't '. In this instance it might better the devil you know. ..

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The declaration that you are telling the truth is nothing more than you would be required to sign for any claim in an English Court.

 

You have employed a Solicitor who is supposed to 'advise you' as well as carry out your instructions, where lawful.

 

Delaying tactics are practiced by all Insurance companies and they will move heaven and earth to avoid a pay out.

 

Your loss or earnings are fact until someone proves otherwise in an English Court. But then we come to the crunch. You are not in an English Court. You really need to speak directly to your legal representative and ask firm questions.

 

Such as. What is your experience in this type of case and in this Country. I mean direct questions - you are in charge.

 

What is the likely time scale involved.

 

What is the substance of the injury claim.

 

If they can't answer these with other than generalities or platitudes then draw your own conclusions.

 

In this legal world I'm afraid you either stand up and fight or give into the tactics that will probably be used - delay - argument etc.

 

The only people who can make that choice are yourselves. It is possible to get 'after the event' insurance to cover costs for some cases in English Courts that cover the other side costs if you lose. Your solicitor if they are any good will be able to tell you if this is possible.

 

Good luck in your pursuit.

 

I presume you have explored the injury cover in your own policy and those household policies that we all have. They can have surprising little add on bits.

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Life is short, court is stressful. You can't spend money you win if you aren't here.

 

If it worries your wife, why carry on? Yes you lost out, life isn't fair, life just is.

 

I don't mean to be dismissive or rude, it must have been an awful experience and you should be compensated handsomely. If that however means years of worry and stress, it isn't worth it.

 

Smile, be thankful your injuries let you carry on as normal eventually and enjoy yourselves.

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Was the guilty party prosecuted by the Italian police for dangerous driving or any other offence?

 

If they were then their guilt has already been proven so a claim for the costs of the impact on your lives is not unexpected. i assume (and it is only an assumption) that the losses you can prove with receipts (car damage, hospital bills, excess, etc) are indisputable, no lawyer can refute official invoices, your issue is with potentially unquantifiable amounts (business losses, pain and suffering, etc.) - would you be happy with recompense for the provable stuff only? Would it be worth progressing for only this part of the amount suggested?

 

If you are prepared to progress with the action with only that element in mind then I would be inclined to press ahead. If you feel it would be too stressful for say 50% of the figure you've suggested (as an example) then I may walk away.

 

Are your solicitors providing any precedents? Do they believe they can win recompense for you and the clause is just standard?

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After the Foxy Knoxy / Meredith Kercher debacle I wouldnt trust an Italian Court

 

I would take it to the limit but stop short of legal action. However I wouldnt tell the other party I had stopped. Let them stew for as long as possible.

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I sympathise with your predicament. If it was us, I would always pursue justice. I would even thrive on the fight. My wife however couldn't stand the stress.

 

I suppose health and well-being come before the money.

 

Do you have any legal advice through member associations or insurances?

 

Some great advice already given above.

 

John

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Much as it pains me to see an injustice going away, I can clearly see that your time being burnt away & potential risk of losses stacking up over time.

Add in the no win no fee, potential fee on say your £5k claim - you need to work out what your 'net' benefit would be if you win.

 

As its affecting your health & mind for both of you, I would reluctantly withdraw & quietly run with the knowledge in the future that you were in the right.

 

At least you have your health back now, so make the most of it & enjoy your UK holidays again safe in the knowledge that you have the UK justice system behind you

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Have you tried the Caravan Club for their legal support ? Did RP not cover personnel injury .

 

 

 

Dave

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Have you tried the Caravan Club for their legal support ? Did RP not cover personnel injury .

Dave

To the best of my knowledge RP doesn't cover compensation for injury, pain and suffering. It only covers you for the medical treatment, repatriation. Neither did my SAGA car insurance. ..despite having legal cover. They backed away when I asked about pursuing personal injury compensation. It seems there is a line between a death or loss of limb in a crash. ..which they cover . ...and things like broken ribs cuts, whiplash. ...which they don't cover! We live and learn.

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Worth noting to other people travelling to Europe.

 

 

Many years ago I had friends that went to France and they got knocked down while walking along the pavement by a French driver found to be 3x the limit at about 70 mph and their 10 year old son was killed and it went to court about 3 yrs later and they got about 250 quid compensation from the driver awarded.

 

Dave

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Thank you for your valued comments. I will speak with the solicitor on Monday and ask a number of key questions. ...

 

1. What is the value of the personal injury side of the claim? From UK stories and the extent of our injuries I imagined we might be talking £5k each . .. plus the material damages of £5k. If I am deluding myself on the injury component then it would force me towards throwing in the towel because with legal haggling and the 25% win fee. ..even if successful I would get a lot less. There is even an arguement that lost business sales isn't actually a direct loss from my pocket, as I never had it!! Being philosophical.

 

2. If I sign the commit to proceedings paperwork is their a bail out option? Once we start this train rolling is there a station before actually putting wigs on and going to court where we can say "ok we get off without any cost" . But I suspect charges will start to mount up from the signature and bailing out might come back on us. I will ask though.

 

3. Can an unsubstantiated claim be regarded as dishonest? And as a result you are held accountable?

 

 

If I analyse my motivations. ..it's not really money . ..it's justice and fair play. Unfortunately money is the only measure of justice in situations like this. When I see what other people get for the merest bump in this country compared to the injuries, suffering and losses we both had, my seeker of justice and fair play mode kicks in. Unfortunately my wise lovely wife points out there is NO justice in life. So I may have to take a deep breath and walk away.

 

I just hope and pray you guys don't encounter what we did, if your travels take you to Italy.

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Thank you for your valued comments. I will speak with the solicitor on Monday and ask a number of key questions. ...

 

1. What is the value of the personal injury side of the claim? From UK stories and the extent of our injuries I imagined we might be talking £5k each . .. plus the material damages of £5k. If I am deluding myself on the injury component then it would force me towards throwing in the towel because with legal haggling and the 25% win fee. ..even if successful I would get a lot less. There is even an arguement that lost business sales isn't actually a direct loss from my pocket, as I never had it!! Being philosophical.

 

2. If I sign the commit to proceedings paperwork is their a bail out option? Once we start this train rolling is there a station before actually putting wigs on and going to court where we can say "ok we get off without any cost" . But I suspect charges will start to mount up from the signature and bailing out might come back on us. I will ask though.

 

3. Can an unsubstantiated claim be regarded as dishonest? And as a result you are held accountable?

 

 

If I analyse my motivations. ..it's not really money . ..it's justice and fair play. Unfortunately money is the only measure of justice in situations like this. When I see what other people get for the merest bump in this country compared to the injuries, suffering and losses we both had, my seeker of justice and fair play mode kicks in. Unfortunately my wise lovely wife points out there is NO justice in life. So I may have to take a deep breath and walk away.

 

I just hope and pray you guys don't encounter what we did, if your travels take you to Italy.

 

I think that makes very good sense. It's tough but at present there are simply too many unknowns to make that educated decision.

 

Be careful of Solicitor speak! Give yourself time to assess.

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Thank you for your valued comments. I will speak with the solicitor on Monday and ask a number of key questions. ...

 

1. What is the value of the personal injury side of the claim? From UK stories and the extent of our injuries I imagined we might be talking £5k each . .. plus the material damages of £5k. If I am deluding myself on the injury component then it would force me towards throwing in the towel because with legal haggling and the 25% win fee. ..even if successful I would get a lot less. There is even an arguement that lost business sales isn't actually a direct loss from my pocket, as I never had it!! Being philosophical.

 

2. If I sign the commit to proceedings paperwork is their a bail out option? Once we start this train rolling is there a station before actually putting wigs on and going to court where we can say "ok we get off without any cost" . But I suspect charges will start to mount up from the signature and bailing out might come back on us. I will ask though.

 

3. Can an unsubstantiated claim be regarded as dishonest? And as a result you are held accountable?

 

 

If I analyse my motivations. ..it's not really money . ..it's justice and fair play. Unfortunately money is the only measure of justice in situations like this. When I see what other people get for the merest bump in this country compared to the injuries, suffering and losses we both had, my seeker of justice and fair play mode kicks in. Unfortunately my wise lovely wife points out there is NO justice in life. So I may have to take a deep breath and walk away.

 

I just hope and pray you guys don't encounter what we did, if your travels take you to Italy.

 

I think you've come to some clearer conclusions following this thread which hopefully helps.

 

I'd be asking the Solicitors for examples of other cases they have successfully handled and see how to Italian ways compare to our understandings. It may be that Italian justice usually sides with the injured party? Until you know the precedents its impossible to decided. Is there a 'no win/no fee' option there?

 

With regard to the bit in bold, unsubstaniated is definied as not supported or proven by evidence, therefore who can determine if it's dishonest. ....it can't be proven either way. Thats why I asked if recompense for the stuff you can prove is enough to take it further.

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Certainly I would be trying to find out if there was any Police action thereafter. ..we actually saw Police drive away on their motorbikes 10 feet from an accident in Amalfi! My own experience in France after being hit whilst stationary would not indicate anything in favour of further action. .Saga appointed an independent negotiator who after 2 years threw the towel in.

 

geoff

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To the best of my knowledge RP doesn't cover compensation for injury, pain and suffering. It only covers you for the medical treatment, repatriation. Neither did my SAGA car insurance. ..despite having legal cover. They backed away when I asked about pursuing personal injury compensation. It seems there is a line between a death or loss of limb in a crash. ..which they cover . ...and things like broken ribs cuts, whiplash. ...which they don't cover! We live and learn.

After my caravan incident last year, I sought legal advice from different association. I did get advice but they would not pursue the matter on my behalf as no one was hurt.

 

It is different for you, are you saying hurt means loss of limb?

 

John

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Certainly I would be trying to find out if there was any Police action thereafter. ..we actually saw Police drive away on their motorbikes 10 feet from an accident in Amalfi! My own experience in France after being hit whilst stationary would not indicate anything in favour of further action. .Saga appointed an independent negotiator who after 2 years threw the towel in.

 

geoff

I don't know if they took any action against the other driver. They did issue a report stating I was not to blame and the other car crossed directly into me. SAGA clearly got the machinery loss sorted with the other insurers because they paid back my excess ( after 4months!) which they had withheld pending confirmation of blame apportionment.

 

It's clear the insurers had sorted their bit out between them. ...it's just the insurers don't want to play with my solicitor regarding personal injury. It may have been different if SAGA had pursued my personal losses and injury as well as the vehicle loss but they said it wasn't part of their car insurance. I confess that was a surprise to me. I thought it did.

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After my caravan incident last year, I sought legal advice from different association. I did get advice but they would not pursue the matter on my behalf as no one was hurt.

It is different for you, are you saying hurt means loss of limb?

John

I am sure it would have been more clear cut (apologies) if a limb loss was involved. But we just had broken bits, cuts and other blunt force injuries most of which have healed over last 14months. My wife, though has a nasty scar across her neck where her necklace got entangled with the seatbelt and cut deeply. If she was a young woman it might be a significant disfigurement. But at 70 she ( and I) are not worried so much about appearance as when we were 20. Lol

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I had an accident and at the time I had a Mercedes. They took over the claim. I got a loan car straight away delivered and collected once mine was fixed. They were brilliant. The other partys insurance constantly tried to pressure me but Mercedes kept telling me to ignore them.

They told me that had I taken legal cover on my Insurance they couldnt help me. It appears that taking legal cover is really only helpul for the Insurance Company and if they decline to support you your choices are limited.

I have never taken it since. .....at the time it was pure chance.

 

I mention this as its been mentioned earlier.

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Be VERY VERY wary of this No Win--No Fee malarkey.

Fifteen years ago I had a serious accident and had to go down this route. I was well & truly shafted by my own legal team. They "Won" my compensation claim (which was in little doubt) but accepted a settlement of just over half the amount it should have been.

So they got their fat fees, and I and my family was never fully recompensed for the suffering we went through.

I am still suffering the results of this accident and there is no further action I can take.

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Sounds like you really need advice from an Italian based Lawyer, but that might not be too practical.

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