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Published 03 February 2022

50 predictions: Construction & Engineering

In a claim in which liability is not an issue and which has been issued in the portal but will probably not stay there due to complex medical issues, there is nothing to stop you making an offer at the limit of the pleaded claim while it is still in the portal. Jennifer Brown and Emma Guest in our Complex Injury team did just this and achieved an excellent result for our client.

In a claim in which liability is not an issue and which has been issued in the portal but will probably not stay there due to complex medical issues, there is nothing to stop you making an offer at the limit of the pleaded claim while it is still in the portal. Jennifer Brown and Emma Guest in our Complex Injury team did just this and achieved an excellent result for our client.The accident which formed the basis of the claim occurred on 23 November 2018. The claimant (C) was sitting in a stationary taxi which had broken down. Her partner had got out to help push the taxi when the defendant (D) drove into the rear of it. Both C and her partner were injured.C issued Part 8 proceedings due to impending limitation. The case was still in the portal as C had not served a Stage 2 pack. It had been stayed until 25th May this year and the settlement pack was due to be submitted by 8th June.C served GP and orthopaedic reports. Her neck, back, leg and shoulders were reportedly injured. She also complained of headaches, paraesthesia (pins and needles) in both arms , dizziness, tinnitus and facial paraesthesia. There was a significant past history of physical complaints and PTSD noted. C had allegedly developed a pain syndrome, but in our view causation was very much in issue. It was clear we would need to instruct our own spinal and psychiatry experts and possibly an ENT surgeon. We had obtained some useful information concerning C’s activities although we had not served this by the time the claim was resolved.C was a self-employed designer and had time off work so a loss of earnings claim was inevitable. We estimated that damages alone would have totalled over £100,000 with costs at around the same level.In the event we decided to take the bull by the horns and made a settlement offer of £25,000 which was the limit of the pleaded claim. Our reasons for this were two-fold. Either it would simply give us some early costs protection or serve to draw out some idea of C’s true valuation of her claim, given the potential for a chronic pain claim to be added, whilst the claim remained in the portal. C accepted the offer and portal fixed costs.The upshot is that the entirety of the claim and costs was settled for less than £30,000 which is a substantial saving on the reserve.Offering to settle at the pleaded limit is a tactic often talked about but not often employed. In a claim in the portal, which looks to be heading to the multi-track but about which you have misgivings about the claimant’s evidence, it can pay dividends as we found in this case.Read more from our Complex Injury experts here.

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