If you are injured in a road traffic accident and your insurance company pay compensation to the other driver, does this prevent you from bringing a claim against that driver for your own injuries? Interestingly, it doesn’t; provided that your claim has reasonable prospects of success and your motor insurers have settled the claim without admitting that you were responsible for the accident (“without prejudice”).
I recently acted for Mrs C, a driver who was hit when another driver, Mr F, pulled out from a side road and collided with her vehicle. Mr F was quick to bring a claim against Mrs C and, on the basis of Mr F’s account alone, Mrs C’s motor insurers agreed to compensate Mr F in full on a “without prejudice” basis.
Mrs C had been my previous client and sought my advice on whether she could claim for her injuries as she felt that Mr F was at fault for the accident. Based on what my client told me, I considered that she had good prospects of showing that Mr F was, in fact, to blame for the accident if we could substantiate her account of events. I applied for a copy of the police report (which presumably my client’s insurers did not do), which supported what she had told me. My client was then successful in bringing a claim against Mr F’s insurers and was compensated in full for her injuries.
Given that a claim against my client’s insurance policy by a third party would have increased her premium and the fact that Mr F appeared to have committed fraud (which makes the vast majority of personal injury solicitors extremely angry given the media's already less than positive representation of our industry), I also sent a copy of the police report to her insurers. They can now pursue Mr F for fraud if they wish to. I was surprised that my client’s insurers didn’t investigate this case properly given that there was objective evidence easily available in the police report.