LONDON, September 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
A motorbike rider has won damages in tricky case that his lawyers say is typical of claims that might never be settled under the Government's proposed changes to No Win No Fee funding arrangements.
The case was heard in Maidstone County Court of Friday 16th September 2011, decided a disputed liability in a road traffic accident involving a car and motorcycle where no contact made between the vehicles.
Mark Shephard (39) from Maidstone sustained injuries in the accident that kept him off work and unable to earn any money for three weeks prior to Christmas.
Mr Shephard claimed that he was caused to fall of his bike by the driver of a car pulling out recklessly into the stream of traffic in front of him. He says he took evasive action, breaking and swerving which resulted in his crashing to the ground.
Blame for the crash was fiercely disputed by the defendants insurer on the grounds that no contact was made between the car and the bike. The court found in favour of Mr Shephard awarding him £2,000 for his loss of income on the grounds that experienced riders don't just fall off their bikes.
The case was difficult and assessed as risky by barristers, but Mr Shephard's solicitors, DBS Law, were able to pursue the case under the current system of "No Win No Fee" arrangements because at trial the costs are paid by the losing party. The Government is now proposing that significant portion of the legal fees should be paid out of the victim's compensation, in a law now going through parliament.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which is due to receive its third reading in parliament on October 13th 2011, contains changes to NWNF arrangements including abolishing "after the event insurance" which covers claimant's against losing their case. DBS Law claims that this will deter many deserving claimants from seeking compensation and only benefit big insurers.
Satnam Singh of DBS Law said, "Under the Governments plan for reforming No win No fee arrangements Mr Shephard's may not have made it to court because of level of risk. If he was able to secure legal representation he would still suffer a significant reduction in his modest compensation payment. Clearly this wouldn't be fair."
SOURCE DBS Law