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Case Study

Takeover case for young man injured in road collision doubles settlement

Jennifer Kelly took over a case from another firm of solicitors on behalf of 17-year-old Michael* who suffered serious psychological injury in a car accident in which his sister died.

Michael was six-years-old in 2010 when the driver of a car he was travelling in with his sister lost control on icy roads. The driver was later convicted of causing death by dangerous driving at Cardiff Crown Court in 2011.

Michael's mother, who had a history of depression, refused to see Michael for several years following the accident. Michael went on to suffer with behavioural issues and his academic performance became a serious concern.

Michael's father instructed a firm of solicitors to pursue a case in 2011 and they agreed a settlement of £7,500 with the defence (the insurer of the driver) in 2018, but without obtaining any witness evidence from Michael's father or his teachers or family friends. This settlement was not approved by the court, and the judge instructed the claimant to obtain further expert evidence from an Educational Psychologist.

The previous solicitors obtained this evidence and the expert mentioned the possibility of dyscalculia, but did not commit to a diagnosis. She also made recommendations for substantial additional input from tutors. The previous solicitors did not implement the recommendations, nor probe the potential diagnosis. They made further offers to settle the case, the most recent for £20,000.

Jennifer took over conduct of the case in July 2021. She worked with Michael's father to obtain detailed witness statements to create a full picture of the impact of the accident on Michael, including implementing recommendations of the Educational Psychologist that the previous solicitors had never done.

Our case was that the trauma of witnessing his sister's death had resulted in Michael's inability to learn in the vital early years in maths. We disputed that Michael had dyscalculia (a disability that would not have been caused by trauma, but rather something he would have suffered from in any event), and got him a private maths tutor. 

Jennifer withdrew the Claimant's Part 36 Offer of £20,000 made by the previous solicitors, not least so that the case was eligible for the multi-track, meaning settlement and costs would increase. She then received an interim payment from the defence to fund the expert's recommendations. The case went on to settle for £50,000.

Lionel Stride was Counsel on the case and worked incredibly hard to achieve this great result for Michael.

Read more about how to change solicitor during a claim.

* name changed

Contact us

For further information about road traffic accident claims, please call Jennifer Kelly on 0330 460 6775 or email jennifer.kelly@fieldfisher.com.

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