Geoffrey Leaver unravel insurance ‘blame game’ after a motorway pile-up to secure compensation for brain injury client
In any accident involving several parties, such as a motorway pile up, the numerous insurance companies will each attempt to attribute blame to the others in order to reduce their liability. The more people involved, the more complex this can become, often making it difficult for the victims to receive justice.
Such was the case, when one of our clients sustained a serious brain injury in a multi-vehicle accident on the motorway. However, personal injury partner Navdip Gill was successful in steering this complex case through to the High Court where compensation has been secured for our client, Ms Z.
In the early hours of the morning in October 2015, on an unlit section of the M20 motorway near Charing in Kent, the driver of a bakery van (Mr W) fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the back of a lorry.
Meanwhile, our client Ms Z was a passenger in a car which was in the fast lane. Noticing the lorry, her driver (Mr T) quickly moved into the middle lane to avoid it but as he was unable to see the bakery van, which was stationary in the middle lane, their car crashed into it.
Shocked, but at this point relatively uninjured, Mr T and Ms Z got out of their car, crossed the dark motorway carefully and walked to safety on a grass verge.
A few minutes later, another van (driven by Mr M) was travelling up the motorway and he also crashed into the bakery van, before spinning across the motorway and onto the grass verge where Ms Z and Mr T were attempting to climb to safety.
This other van hit both Ms Z and Mr T, and Ms Z was trapped under this van for over two hours until she was transported by air ambulance to St George’s Hospital in London.
Following the accident, Mr W who had been driving the bakery van which caused this chain of events, was convicted of dangerous driving and of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Maidstone Crown Court. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Ms Z suffered a head injury, as well as serious leg and pelvic injuries, in the accident which has had lasting repercussions.
She approached Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors and instructed Navdip Gill in April 2019, and we claimed compensation on her behalf.
The insurance blame game
In theory, this should have been a straightforward case which settled outside of court, as the whole chain of events had been caused by Mr W, the driver of the bakery van.
However, in an attempt to pass on a share of liability, the insurers for Mr W argued that Mr T was driving too quickly and had therefore contributed in part to the accident.
Mr W’s insurers also argued that Mr M, driving the other van, had caused a separate accident when he had knocked over Ms Z and Mr T, and on that basis they claimed that Mr W was not to blame for Ms Z’s injuries.
What Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors did
In order to obtain justice for Ms Z, Navdip pushed the case all the way to trial, and it was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London in November 2021.
The arguments by the insurers did not stand up in court, and the judge said that although there had technically been an intervening act, this did not mean that there had been a separate accident. The judge found Mr W responsible for the entire sequence of collisions. The fact that Mr W had already been found guilty in the criminal court played a big part in the judge’s decision.
‘This was a challenging case, filled with technical arguments. But at Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors we are experienced litigators and are skilled in dealing with high profile, complex cases. We instructed the best experts and steered our client through the fiendishly difficult High Court litigation, and ultimately we were successful’, says Navdip. ‘We are prepared to litigate and no matter who is against us, and whatever barriers they try to put up, we will get you justice’.
Get in touch
If you have any questions or have suffered a complex injury and would like to discuss your personal injury claim, please contact Navdip Gill on 01908 689338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial consultation.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.