Much more than your health is at stake when you’re involved in a road traffic accident. Consequences on your income will have to be taken into account, with everything from your damaged vehicle and items to loss of earnings considered. There is often substantial difficulty in calculating a claim for loss of earnings as self-employed victims and those on incentive based or variable hour employment contracts may find it harder to prove just how much they have lost. This was the case when we recently represented a client who was injured riding his motorcycle.
Our client was driving his Yamaha motorbike in Consett when a car turned out of a junction on his left. Despite his efforts to avoid the car by swerving right, the car hit his left side. Our client was left with injuries to the left side of his body, whiplash injuries, damaged ligaments in his left leg and a fractured ankle. The emergency services were called by a passer-by and he was transported to hospital by ambulance.
Loss of vehicle and damaged clothing
We arranged for our client’s motorcycle to be inspected by an engineer as it had suffered damage in the accident. The report prepared by the engineer showed that the bike was a total loss. We negotiated with the driver’s insurer and received a payment for our client’s bike at approximately its pre-accident value. This allowed him to purchase a replacement and get back on to the road as soon as possible.
Further down the line we also managed to recover the cost of our client’s damaged clothing and helmet. As is often the case, the insurance company initially refused to pay 100% of what the helmet was worth. We argued that nobody would buy a used helmet so therefore why should our client be awarded less than 100% of what his helmet was worth? We managed to defeat their argument about this and our client received the full worth of his helmet so that he could purchase a like-for-like replacement.
As the driver’s insurer had not admitted liability on the part of their client, we then applied for the police report on the incident. In the time we were waiting for the police report to be produced, our client was receiving physiotherapy treatment. This type of treatment is often offered to victims of road traffic accidents to help them recover from their injuries. It will come at no cost in the event of a successful claim, as the opposing insurance company are obliged to pay for the treatment if their driver is at fault.
We had also booked our client in to be examined by a medical professional who would assess our client’s injuries and provide a report for us to prove that our client had been injured as a result of the accident. In this case we had instructed a specialist orthopaedic surgeon. We always instruct experts who have the relevant expertise to ensure that they can accurately assess impact of our client’s injuries.
Loss of earnings
The most important and most complex part of this case involved the loss of earnings our client had suffered. As he was self-employed as a partner in a landscaping company, the loss of his ability to work and his expertise on the job was sorely missed. The business had to turn down job offers as they didn’t have the capacity to deal with them. Existing contracts were lost as jobs could no longer be completed within the projected timeframe.
Calculating the amount lost by our client in this case was difficult. Not only did he have lost wages to recover, but there was also the loss of business and additional wages that had to be paid out to hired labourers. We worked out the amount that had been lost and submitted this to the insurers. It was vital that we recovered this, as a substantial portion of our client’s claim was in relation to his earnings.
When we finally received the police report it confirmed that the other driver was at fault for the accident. They had interviewed him after the incident and he then admitted that the accident had been down to him not looking before attempting to turn. We had ensured that the driver’s insurers had a copy of this and they duly admitted liability.
A payment was offered for our client’s loss of earnings and contract in the sum of £6500, which our client happily accepted. With all elements of his claim for compensation concluded, our client recovered over £21,000 in total. Our client was delighted with this, as it allowed him to pay for all the losses he had incurred and compensated him for the injuries he had suffered.