Hit and Run Culprit Caught
Our Client, Simarjeet, was 18 years old when she was driving through a residential area and came across a road closure ahead of her, where the Police were dealing with an accident. When she was part way through making a three-point turn to go back the way she had come, another vehicle, driving at speed, crashed into her driver’s side door and she was thrown sideways by the force of the impact.
Surprisingly, the Defendant didn’t stop and drove off afterwards! He tried to get away, but as the road was closed, could only turn into an industrial estate where he was cornered by a witness and his friends who had seen the incident and run after him. They said he was “hiding” around the corner when they confronted him and got him to go back to the scene.
Simarjeet was very shaken up by the accident and was given a lift home. Later that day she was suffering with a severe headache, and neck and back pain. She went to a walk-in clinic where she was diagnosed with soft tissue damage/whiplash type injury and advised to take painkillers. Simarjeet continued to suffer with headaches and pain for quite some time after the accident.
The Defendant denied liability, initially claiming that our client was carrying out her three point turn on a blind bend. Later, he claimed that he was following her at about 25mph, and that she had pulled into the left kerb, and then turned right into him without indicating. This went against the photographic evidence of the scene, which clearly showed the Defendant’s vehicle’s skid marks, proving that he drove into her at speed.
The case went to Trial where the Judge found 100% in our Client’s favour and said of the Defendant, that if it wasn’t for our witness going after him, he thinks he would not have come back to the scene at all and that he held him fully to blame for the incident. Our client was awarded just over £3,000 for her injuries and special damages.
If the Governments proposals to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 go ahead, this case would have fallen within that bracket. That means that Simarjeet would have had to deal with the claim herself through the Small Claims Court. With the Defendant’s insurers vehemently denying liability, added to the fact that it is a very daunting experience for a lay person attending Court and Simarjeet was understandably apprehensive about the ordeal, it is very doubtful she would have pursued her case at all and therefore receive any compensation to which she was entitled including her own insurance policy excess of £750.
The likelihood of a 19 year old being able to fund her case to go to Court and represent herself is highly unlikely.
Innocent accident victims with legitimate claims which fall under the value of £5,000 will lose out if these reforms are passed.
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