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Recent cases: Business

Mediation on behalf of an Insurer
Alternative Dispute Resolution

We acted for an insurer (on a surrogated basis) and a high net worth policy holder for the recovery of an extensive bill after the policy holder’s vehicle, a Porsche Carrera, was damaged. The cost of repairs exceeded £50,000 and the incident resulted in a substantial diminution in value to the vehicle, exceeding £30,000, as a consequence of the damage and repairs required.

The vehicle had been transported on an open transporter from Antibes in France. There was a contractual dispute between the client and transportation company, as to whether the transport was meant to take place in an open container or a closed one. There were other legal defences being presented relating to the CMR (The legal convention governing international carriage of goods through road transport), which sought to limit any award by virtue of articles contained within that Convention.

Proceedings were issued and the matter was due for trial in The High Court, which would have resulted in substantial costs if the matter proceeded to Trial, however Solicitors for both parties consented to proceed via Mediation.

KLS Law represented the Claimant at Mediation without counsel and succeeded in achieving a settlement in the region £65,000 for the claimant and his insurers. The costs avoided for the client and insurer, as a consequence of ADR, easily exceeded £100,000.

The perils of oral contracts
Contract Disputes

The case of Wells v Bevan recently came before the Supreme Court. It showed the perils of oral contracts as both parties gave very different accounts of a telephone conversation. The court based its decision on context, saying this was the important feature in such cases. If at all possible, such important conversations should be recorded or at least a contemporaneous note kept.

Recent cases: Personal

Application following a road traffic accident
Court of Protection

We acted for a 75 year old brain damaged client following a road traffic collision, where mental incapacity was established. Following an initially contested but then subsequently successful application to the Court Of Protection to appoint the Client's daughter Deputy, the case was successfully dealt with through the Court Of Protection and the Client's monies successfully invested and managed. Settlement monies exceeded £150,000.

Application due to a pedestrian traffic accident
Court of Protection

We acted for an 89 year old actor, after he was the victim of a pedestrian road traffic accident. In the accident, he sustained lower limb injuries and a mild brain injury which made it difficult for him to manage his financial affairs. It was established later on in the case, through evidence from a neuropsychiatrist, that the Client did not have necessary capacity.

Character references can make all the difference
Medical Regulation

We provided representation to a registered pharmacist facing very serious allegations of theft and dishonesty. Full and detailed instructions were taken, video footage was reviewed, witnesses were sought; not just in relation to the incident but the character. The Partner dealing with the matter (solicitor advocate) represented the pharmacist at a 2-day hearing before the Fitness to Practice Committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council in London.

Following detailed submissions, the panel concluded that, whilst items had been taken, this was due to prevailing personal circumstances affecting the pharmacist at the time. Importantly, there was no finding of dishonesty, but the committee upheld that the pharmacist had failed to follow procedures when taking the items. After carefully and methodically going through mitigation at the fitness to practice and sanction stage, the Committee were persuaded to issue the pharmacist with a warning letter with no further action being taken.

This case highlights the importance of obtaining character references and witnesses. Gathering evidence for stage 2 and 3 of the process, addressing insight, impact of professional/family life, knowledge and skills, as well as clear evidence reflecting upon the matter, all highlight the impact of the sanction that is ultimately imposed.

The Importance of the right representation
Medical Regulation

Regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC), proceedings were brought against our client, a Consultant, before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). The Consultant failed to follow procedures regarding patient feedback, which was allegedly fraudulent and dishonest. The central allegation being that the Consultant had completed the patient feedback questionnaires.

At a case management hearing, we robustly pursued an order that our client was entitled to call their own expert evidence in the form of a handwriting expert to ensure equality of arms. At the first day of the hearing, we successfully challenged the GMC’s handwriting expert evidence, leading to the redaction of the report.

Following a hearing lasting several days, the MPTS concluded that there had been no forgery or dishonesty on the part of our client but there had been a failure to follow procedures (which had been admitted at the outset). After an impairment and sanction hearing, with references being submitted from multiple sources and statements in support, the MPTS imposed a one-month suspension. Following further training being completed and a review hearing as a direct consequence of representations of this firm, the suspension period was brought to an end without our client having to complete the full one-month period of suspension.

The psychological impact of road accidents
Personal Injury

Our Client, a female in her mid-40s who was an Accountant at a top company in the North West, suffered an accident when a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) lorry collided into her vehicle on the motorway, where her and her vehicle was dragged along by the HGV.

The client sustained some minor physical injuries but her main injury was psychological. She developed a fear of car travel, which meant her career progression was impeded, as she could only apply for jobs very local to where she lived.

Despite receiving treatment which did help her, she had not sufficiently recovered and a future loss of earnings claim was presented. A settlement was achieved of around £90,000.

Success despite Insurer contesting injuries
Personal Injury

A lady in her late 50s sustained trauma to her face when a sign in a shop fell upon her face, causing injury to her nose which required rhinoplasty and extensive further symptomology including trigeminal neuralgia, atypical facial pain and other pain which extended and radiated beyond her face to other parts of her body.

The client suffered extensive psychological trauma including depression and PTSD, and was no longer able to work. In the course of the accident, she also twisted her neck and back. Pain expert reports were obtained to support the claim

The insurers for the shop, however, obtained their own reports contesting the fact that the injuries were accident related. At a joint settlement meeting, however, the matter was resolved in our client’s favour for a high 6 figure sum.

Chronic pain from a cycling accident
Personal Injury

A 37-year-old male client living in South East England sustained soft tissue injuries to his right hand, arm and neck following an accident with a vehicle, causing him to come off his pedal bike. He also sustained psychological trauma, could not come to terms with riding his bike again, had a 10-year history of depression and the combination of physical and psychological injury caused him to be off work (in his self-employed painter and decorator job) for 6 months.

Treatment was arranged, including steroid injections at no cost to the client, which slightly ameliorated his symptoms. We instucted a top pain consultant and psychologist, obtaining strong evidence to show the injuries were all accident related. The injuries went into manifest in complex regional pain syndrome.

The Defendant’s insurers admitted liability but attacked the claim, pointing to a pre-history of psychological symptoms and some previous back and neck complaints. However, thanks largely to the impressive nature of the medical evidence, we obtained a successful outcome and the client recovered in the region of £125,000.

Successful settlement following a leg fracture
Personal Injury

Soyab acted on behalf of a motorcyclist who suffered a serious fracture to the leg, requiring a corticotomy. The client was in an external fixator frame for some six months, undergoing several operations during this time. There was a substantial claim for loss of earnings and care. The Defendant engaged in covert video surveillance on several occasions. This was addressed and rebutted by carefully prepared witness statements going through the surveillance in detail. The matter proceeded to a Joint Settlement Meeting with the Defendant walking out on a final offer of £800,000. We negotiated a settlement several weeks later at just under £1,000,000.

Motorcycle accident leads to head injury
Personal Injury

We acted on behalf of a motorcyclist who suffered a serious head injury when the driver of a car pulled out from a junction, colliding with the motorcyclist.

The Defendant persistently argued that the motorcyclist was travelling at a higher speed which contributed to the accident and brought about injuries greater than what would have been sustained.

Matters were compounded due to our client suffering a stroke one year post-accident. The Defendant argued the stroke reduced our client’s life expectancy, causing ongoing issues which would have affected the claim for loss of earnings, and brought about a claim for care. This was argued robustly on behalf of our client.

A question mark regarding our client’s life expectancy became a real issue. The Defendant seeking to argue that it had been significantly reduced (accordingly reducing the value of the claim). Again, this was robustly resisted with our own evidence and, to remove it as an issue, a claim for periodical payments advanced so that the issue of life expectancy fell by the wayside.

The matter was settled for just over half a million pounds with an annual payment for life of £55,000 increasing every year by an appropriate index link.

Compensation for a pillion passenger
Personal Injury

Soyab acted on behalf of a pillion passenger who sustained serious fractures to the leg, pelvis and spine as well as a head injury following a road accident. Although the client made a reasonable recovery, it was unlikely they would be able to work again as a self-employed decorator.

Within 12 months of the accident, the Defendant made a significant offer to settle which was, in our view, premature given the outstanding medical evidence and prognosis.

Nevertheless, we arranged a meeting with a senior Barrister (Queen’s Counsel) to go discuss the case in detail, setting out what further evidence was needed as well as the advantages and disadvantages of compromising the claim as opposed to continuing.

This allowed the client to make a fully informed decision, recognising the risks of a premature settlement but understanding that the value of the claim may or may not exceed the amount on offer.

This was one of those rare occasions when a Defendant insurer was prepared to make a realistic offer to settle recognising that it may be over valuing the claim.

Mediation following a road traffic accident
Personal Injury

We acted for a client who sustained moderate brain damage following a road traffic collision. Whilst liability was not an issue, quantum and causation were, especially the impact of the accident on the Claimant’s future earning capacity.

The Claimant was a high earning individual who was likely to be progressing further up the career ladder, had he not been in the accident. The claim was presented on the Claimants behalf for amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

Several expert reports were commissioned by both parties; including (but not limited to) neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, neuro radiologists and employment consultants. Much of the expert evidence was conflicting (the Defendant’s evidence did not support the Claimant’s case that he sustained a brain injury) and proceedings were issued in Court.

Had the matter proceeded to trial, costs in excess of £500,000 for the Claimant alone were likely to be incurred. A 7-day trial was listed at the back-end of a full set of directions, however, the matter proceeded to Mediation. A settlement of £2,100,000 was achieved with a cost saving of at least £200,000.

Successful settlement following a seemingly minor road accident
Personal Injury

Our client was a radiologist in his early 50s. He suffered a minor accident when his vehicle was lightly impacted in the rear and it was accepted the damage was no more than a small scrape to the bumper. He had suffered pre accident with back and neck issues which resulted in regular visits to the pain clinic.

He managed to get out unaided and did not complain about pain for another few days, and so didn’t see his GP for a week. However, his symptoms worsened considerably post-accident.

Subsequently, he was partially confined to a wheelchair a few years later and could not go back to work. Conflicting expert medical evidence was obtained but the pain, psychiatric and orthopaedic evidence obtained on his behalf by KLS Law was more impressive and credible. A settlement resulted at a joint settlement meeting of £280,000.

Expert instruction results in large road accident settlement
Personal Injury

Our client was a 35-year-old female who was hit in the rear of her car by the Defendant. There was conflicting evidence about the force of the impact, but it was accepted that it was not significant.

Our client suffered a severe whiplash soft tissue injury to her neck which required her to have surgery and a treatment plan, thereafter, for life. A spinal surgeon was instructed alongside a pain consultant.

The insurer referred to some pre accident history of neck issues, but the experts instructed marginalised the significance of this, resulting in a settlement of £95,000 for our Client.

Knee injury leads to loss of income compensation
Personal Injury

The Client was a RAF pilot and suffered a knee injury following a road traffic collision, which was of moderate intensity but caused the client to impact his knee on steering wheel. The trauma resulted in ligamentous and tendon damage, which surgery failed to resolve.

Conflicting medical opinions debated the significance of the long-term prognosis. For the most part, the client was able to carry on life as normal, albeit some discomfort which would result in the use of a knee brace.

Due to the strict nature of the FAF health and fitness requirements, he was discharged on fitness grounds and needed to seek a new career. Following a joint settlement meeting, our Client received a settlement of circa £800,000.