Claim estimated at £1.2 million
Initial evidence was small and specific testing carried out
Claimant abandoned the case only a few weeks before the hearing
In 2017 we received instructions from a client in relation to a former employee who was claiming to have been injured at work in 2014. The claimant was the operator of a JCB which was used as part of resurfacing work when its bucket was struck by a road roller that was used to flatten the fresh asphalt. There was no dispute that a collision occurred between the two vehicles.
The claimant reported that he sustained injury to his left foot, knee and hip as a result of the incident and was subsequently diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. He reported that he had to leave his job due to the incident and as a result, suffered loss of earnings and loss of pension. The initial claim was for £750,000 with interest of 8% per year (6-7 years later this would now be an estimated £1.2million).
The initial evidence was limited but indicated that the damage was confined to some paint chips off the body of the roller. However, with no reference material or experience of collisions between vehicles of this type, testing was needed to produce a plan and cost estimate.
In March 2018, we carried out several tests of increasing speeds to gauge the level of damage. The tests indicated that the paint chip damage to the roller was a result of a collision in the range up to one miles per hour, and that the movement of the JCB operator in a collision of this magnitude was within the same range as the movement of the operator during their normal daily manoeuvres.
In August 2019, a report was prepared following examination of the road roller and a similar JCB (the original had been decommissioned) by an expert instructed by the claimant. The report proposed that the collision could have occurred above one miles per hour but this was not based on any physical evidence, data or testing. The report also stated that an acceleration of 1G could have been enough to cause injury, but this was unsubstantiated. The report didn’t take into consideration any testing other than to determine the top speed of the roller. The description of the vehicle alignment in the report also appeared to have changed from that given in the original evidence.
In May 2020, it was decided that additional testing should be undertaken to cover the question of the alignment of the vehicles. In August 2020, we carried out further testing to determine the damage caused by different points of contact and the effect of the bucket applying pressure into the ground at the time of the collision. Again, the testing showed that the accelerations of the operator were the same as the range experienced during our original testing.
The claimant abandoned the case only a few weeks before the hearing and did not receive any damages. In addition, a contribution was made towards the defendant’s costs. This has saved a potential £1.2 million for the insurer.
It is an excellent example of how our forensic collision team can undertake bespoke testing to assist in preparing reports on some of the more unusual collisions and claims.
For more information please contact Matthew Stansfield, Operations Director of Motor Engineering.
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