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A taxi driver who was involved in a collision in his home town has finally won his three-year battle for compensation

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Accident circumstances

The taxi driver was transporting a fare paying passenger when his taxi was struck by a van pulling out of a minor road. The driver of the van at the time of the incident provided details to Miss Aboobakar’s client. On the face of it this appears to be a straight forward case where the Defendant should accept liability but what ensued was a 3 year battle for personal injury compensation. Chaida Aboobakar from Clearwater Solicitors took on the taxi driver’s fight for justice after the defendants refused to admit liability for the incident. Miss Aboobakar’s client suffered injuries to his lower back, shoulders and right arm. The taxi was recorded as a total loss.

Defendant’s position

When Miss Aboobakar contacted the defendant’s insurers they said that they had no knowledge of the claim. This was because their client who was listed as the insured on the van stated that he sold it to a third party two days prior to the incident. Further, they advised it appeared the person who bought the vehicle was not insured.Accordingly we redirected our client’s claim to the motor insurance bureau who specialise in compensating victims of drivers who are either uninsured or untraced. The Motor insurance bureau sent an agent to the address the Defendant gave at the scene of the accident only to be told that the person they were searching for did not exist. Therefore, they advised this claim would proceed under the Untraced agreement.The untraced agreement does not favour Claimants in general as it offers far less compensation due to Solicitors inability to issue Court proceedings.

We discovered the Claimant’s fare paying passenger was also being represented by personal injury solicitors and approached them to determine if they had tracked the Defendant. They advised they had checked the insurance details for the third party vehicle on 2 occasions at the time of the accident and then much later and it came up with the same insurers i.e. the insurers who told us that the Defendant has sold his vehicle. Strictly speaking this is against the rules as you are only entitled to do one search.We recommended to our client that he redirected his claim to the Defendant’s insurers Coincidentally our Client drive post the Defendant 1 year later and it was the same person driving the vehicle.

We approached the Defendant’s insurers who advised that there insured had sold the vehicle for £4000.00 but had only taken a £1000 deposit. The alleged buyer said he would pay the Defendant later. However, as he was not able to do so they Defendant took possession of the vehicle again.
In support of their argument they produced a DVLA ownership record which showed:-

  1. The Defendant owned the vehicle upto 2 days before the accident;
  2. the person whose details were given to our client owned the vehicle for a period of a month
  3. A person with a slightly different name to the Defendant and a different address became the registered owner after the vehicle was returned to the Defendant.

We questioned the Defendant’s solicitors as to why their insured had registered the vehicle under a slightly different name and address. They refused to answer this question.Our client was adamant it was the same person driving the vehicle and he believed the Defendant who was a builder owned a few properties and the name given to the client did not exist.Accordingly we recommended to the Client we issued proceedings against the original owner as the Defendant’s representatives refused to settle our Client’s claim.

How Clearwater Solicitors resolved the case

After proceedings were issued the Defendant filed a Defence denying responsibility and again claimed that their insured has sold the vehicle 2 days before the accident.

–        Miss Aboobakar proposed to the Defendant’s solicitors they send a photograph of their insured and we could send it to our client and the fare paying passenger to confirm if it was the same person or not. She also requested bank statements form the Defendant to prove that he did receive a deposit and then paid it back. The Defendant’s solicitor sent a photograph of the Defendant and our client and the fare paying passenger confirmed it was the same person. However, the Defendant’s solicitors refused to disclose bank statements and continued to dispute liability.

–        Our client again ran into the Defendant and this time took a photograph of the Defendant which clearly showed the same person as the photograph disclosed by the Defendant’s solicitors.

–        Miss Aboobakar wrote to the defendant’s insurers stating that she suspected he was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision and he had simply made up a story that he sold the vehicle. She again disclosed the photograph our client had taken but the Defendant’s solicitors were still unwilling to settle our client’s road traffic accident claim.

–        When witness evidence where due to be exchanged the Defendant’s solicitors disclosed a statement from their enquiry agent who had interviewed their insured. Miss Abookar suspected the Defendant was not cooperating with them which is the reason they did not file his statement. Miss Abookar informed the Defendant’s solicitors we do not accept the Defendant’s witness evidence and they must serve a hearsay notice to confirm why their insured was not being called to give evidence. .

–        The defendant’s insurers requested more information from Miss Aboobakar’s client regarding the incident as they were trying to find pieces of evidence that did not match his original statement. The taxi driver willingly completed these questions and sent them back to the defendant’s insurers. They could not find any faults with his original statement or his new answers that were put forward even though the two statements were taken more than eighteen months apart.

–        Special rules govern hearsay notices and the Defendants could only rely on it if their insured had for example moved to abroad and could not return.

–        As the Defendant’s were not willing to file an Application Miss Abookar sent part 18 questions to confirm why their insured could not give evidence. However, the Defendant’s solicitors were unwilling to answer the questions. Therefore, Miss Abookar was left with no choice but to make an Application to Court to compel the Defendant to file a Hearsay Notice. The Application was due to be heard on the same day as the trial.

–        Finally the Defendant’s solicitors saw sense and decided to settle the Claimant’s claim. They made 3 ridiculous offers which recommend the Client rejected. Our Client was happy to follow our advice.

Four days before the case was due to go to court the defendant’s solicitors changed their view and agreed to settle our client’s claim for the amount of £8,500 with which we had offered 6 months earlier.

How Clearwater Solicitors can help you

Clearwater Solicitors is experienced in handling car accident claims where the Defendant’s dispute liability. If you think you have a case or require further information contact Clearwater on 08000 430 430 or fill in the online call back request.

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