I recently settled a claim for Mr B who approached my firm after the first firm of solicitors he instructed advised him that he did not have reasonable prospects of bringing a successful claim. Mr B had been seriously injured when he slipped on a wet surface and fell off the back of his work van.
Whilst it appeared that Mr B’s first firm of solicitors had undertaken appropriate steps, including instructing a barrister, it became apparent that they had not considered the many inconsistencies in the defendant’s evidence. We felt that Mr B had sufficient prospects and took on his case. He was a credible witness who had worked for the defendant for a number of years without any difficulties. The defendant had made allegations which were not consistent with the mechanism of the injury. Their witness evidence did not stack up. The work van which Mr B had been allocated on the day was not his usual vehicle. It was not suitable for the purpose for which it was being used.
Mr B accepted that he was at some risk of being found partly to blame for the accident by not taking more care and we made an offer to apportion liability before starting court proceedings. The defendant’s insurers refused to engage in any negotiations to settle.
Mr B had suffered a fracture of the ankle for which he required surgery. Subsequently he was re-admitted to hospital for a further week due to complications and later required an arthroscopy. Mr B’s condition did not improve and he continued to experience ongoing pain and discomfort. I obtained a medical report from an orthopaedic consultant who advised that Mr B’s condition would deteriorate over the next 5–10 years and he was at risk of requiring further surgery in the form of a fusion. Due to his symptoms, Mr B could not return to work before his retirement.
Fortunately for Mr B, the defendant’s solicitors saw sense shortly after service of proceedings and made reasonable settlement proposals which Mr B accepted. Mr B ended up with a five figure settlement with which he was very happy.
There is of course no guarantee that a second advice will always lead to a successful outcome, but any seriously injured person who find themselves in a similar situation should not hesitate to obtain a second opinion for peace of mind if not anything else.