Our client is a courier in his forties. He was delivering a parcel to a well-known firm of accountants at an office based in a historic, listed building.As he entered via an antiquated wooden door, he fell down two steps on the inside of the building and suffered a painful sprain to his ankle.
He instructed us and we addressed his claim to the accountants on the basis that there was no adequate warning of the step to people entering the building. Their insurers denied liability at first stating that there was a small sign outside the door warning of the step and that the responsibility lay with the National Trust, who own the building and were their landlords at the time of the accident.
What we did next
We obtained a copy of the lease and saw that it was unclear whether the Trust or the tenant accountants were responsible for warning visitors of the dangerous stone steps. The sign was small and not easily visible, particularly to people who were carrying goods through the door and advised our client to continue with the claim.
After we submitted a claim to the National Trust, their insurers denied liability, blaming the tenants. We put the two insurers in touch with each other in the hope that they would agree that one of them was to blame for the accident.
They could not agree and we obtained a medical report and started Court Proceedings against both parties. Very shortly afterwards, the Accountants’ solicitors paid the client’s claim of over £2000 in full together with his legal fees.
The client was delighted and was pleased he had accepted our advice to refer the case to the Court.
German-registered vehicle damaged in the UK
This week John Green settled a claim on behalf of a lady who was involved in a road traffic accident. The claim was fairly straightforward and liability was admitted by the other driver’s insurance company early in the proceedings.
What was less than straightforward was dealing with the damage to her vehicle. Her car was registered in Germany, and was owned by her father. DVLA rules state that foreign vehicles can be only used for six months in the UK, before they need to be taxed and registered in the UK.
The accident happened just before the six month period was due to expire. Her plan had been to drive it home to Germany over Christmas, and to fly back to the UK. The damage to her car was mainly cosmetic, so it was safe to drive across Europe.
Whilst she was in Germany she had the car assessed by DEKRA, a German vehicle inspection company. They assessed the repair costs at greater than the value of the car, so the client and her father decided to cut their losses and sell the car for, essentially, scrap value.
Our opponents, a well-known insurance company, were unwilling to compensate our client for her vehicle related losses, arguing that she should have had the car assessed in the UK.
After a long and unnecessary battle, our opponents finally agreed to compensate our client in full for the replacement value of her car (minus the scrap value she received) as well as for her injuries. This required a highly technical translation of the DEKRA report and numerous phone calls with technical agents in Germany whose spoken English was not good and worse than their understanding of the English legal System.
At Taylor & Emmet, when a case becomes difficult, we don’t shy away from pursuing it. We know that even the most straightforward cases can take a turn for the worse and we will always roll up our sleeves to find the most cost effective, sensible, legal and practical solutions to assist you.