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Case Study: Express Solicitor became ‘my guardian angel’ after car accident

Client Stories

John was involved in a serious car accident when an untraced vehicle cut across his path, leading to the loss of control and a subsequent crash. He sustained significant injuries. Initially, The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) rejected the case. However, the Express Solicitors team, under the leadership of Rachel Flannigan, challenged the judgment. Since the accident, John had been out of work, fallen into debt and experienced severe mental health issues before the ruling was overturned. This is his story…

The Accident

John was travelling along a dual carriageway when a transit van cut across the exit in front of his car. This dangerous manoeuvre forced him to swerve out of the way and crash into a roadside barrier and neighbouring tree. John found himself trapped inside the car; his foot now stuck under one of the pedals. He fell in and out of consciousness until the fire brigade arrived to free him from the car. He was eventually released and rushed to hospital.

“My life tuned upside down. I never realised the impact that it [the accident] would have at the time.”

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The Impact

John sustained serious injuries, which included a fracture to his ankle, foot, multiple ribs and knee – requiring a number of surgeries. The recovery is still ongoing. John remarked: “I had to have assistance to get in and out of the bath, to shower, to dress and to shave. It’s a massive change to my life financially as well as physically and mentally.” Relying on his daughter for day-to-day care after the accident, John lost his independence. Before the accident, he used to enjoy an active life playing golf and spending time with his grandchildren.

Arguably his ‘unseen’ injuries are more profound than the physical injuries. John’s mental health declined after the accident, he developed PTSD and struggled to sleep. He also started to have anxiety around travelling, which has had a massive impact on his life, including his work life. Prior to the accident John was a Regional Business Development Manager, a role that required a lot of driving. Losing his job and the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) initial rejection of the claim caused spiralling debts and had serious implications on his mental health.

What happens if an uninsured or untraceable driver hits me? 

The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) specialises in compensating victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured or untraced drivers. Since an insurance company can’t provide a route to compensation, the MIB steps in to help. MIB claims must meet an eligibility criterion and have the sufficient supporting evidence.

Case Rejected

John submitted a claim to the MIB under the Untraced Driver’s Agreement. The claim was rejected based on the evidence they had received from the police and apparent witnesses to the accident. Critically, these witness statements were unsigned and contained several inconsistences. John’s account was also cast into doubt. He was unfairly considered an unreliable witness.

The MIB Appeal

Reflecting on the appeal John explained: “If you believe you’re in the right (to seek compensation after an accident that wasn’t your fault), pursue it to whatever lengths you can.” When describing Rachel Flannigan and her work during the appeal, he said: “Like a dog with a bone, she dug deeper and deeper and deeper into my case.”

We appealed the decision on the basis that the MIB must treat the claim the same way the Court would. Witness statements which were not signed cannot be used in evidence, and where they can, they should not be given any real weight without corroboration.

As we could not cross-examine the witnesses, they should have answered our questions. Witnesses at Trial who refuse cross examination would have their evidence struck out.

The only consistent evidence was John’s – in his account to the police, ambulance, in his statement and when having CBT treatment sessions on the NHS.

We presented the appeal to the Arbitrator citing the relevant clause of the Untraced Driver’s Agreement that had been breached by the MIB. We highlighted that despite the MIB’s position that a Court would not accept a large amount of the evidence, the MIB sought to rely upon it. The Arbitrator agreed and overturned the decision and gave the Claimant liability in full against the Untraced Driver.

Thanks to the appeal, John was awarded interim payments to aid with his immediate recovery and manage outstanding debts. The MIB will also pay for all his future surgeries and treatment privately.

Light at the end of the tunnel

On winning the appeal Rachel said: “John and I were overjoyed when the appeal was successful, and we both cried. I have since secured him an interim payment to help his debt and the MIB are now paying for his surgery to his knee and to fuse his ankle. He can now see light at the end of the tunnel.”

John remarked: “My life’s changed completely but I’m forever in Rachel’s debt for all that she’s done for me. And her team. Rachel was my guardian angel…to have someone believe in you in your darkest days – that’s all you want.”

John’s recovery is ongoing; he is now waiting for a knee replacement and ankle fusion surgery as a result of the hospital’s failure to treat his knee at the time of the accident. It will be roughly another 18 months until John’s life returns to any semblance of normality.

Reflecting on his experience with the MIB and the initial rejection John said: “Somewhere out there this will happen again and again and again.” It’s vital you “choose the right solicitor” and most importantly, “never ever give up”.

On his experience with Express, John added: “Rachel’s the only one who had belief and trust in me, I would never ever be able to repay Rachel, she has been amazing.”

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Have you suffered a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault? Express Solicitors can get you the justice and compensation you deserve. We have an expert team with the experience to win even the most complex cases. You can start your journey with us today.

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