Significant six-figure settlement achieved for a motorcyclist following an RTA in France
Our client, an HGV driver, was on a motorbiking holiday in France with three of his friends. Our client was a motorbike enthusiast who had done a similar trip in Portugal the year before the accident.
The accident happened when our client collided with a French lorry on a country road on the outskirts of Montpellier. He had gone out for a morning ride, whilst his companions had been getting ready, and his last memory prior to the accident, was leaving the campsite where they had been staying.
The accident resulted in our client suffering a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury & multiple orthopaedic injuries.
Our client was in hospital in France for 22 days, before being repatriated to the UK.
His recovery was a slow process, and he required an inpatient stay at a dedicated spinal unit, in an effort to maximise his recovery. Thanks to the expert support he received, as well as his own dedication, he was able to return to some limited walking, but would always be largely reliant on a wheelchair to mobilise.
Unfortunately, due to his injuries, he was unable to go back to his job as an HGV driver, which he had previously loved.
Our client could not recall the accident circumstances, and, the application of French law was required, given the location of the accident, making the case even more complex. Furthermore, the accident reconstruction evidence suggested that the accident occurred on the wrong side of the road for our client, suggesting he had been driving in the wrong lane when the collision occurred.
In light of the evidence, the Defendant denied liability for the accident. However, we obtained expert evidence on French law which, in respect of road traffic accidents, is starkly different to English law.
When there is a road traffic accident in France, the starting position is that the injured party is entitled to be compensated by the insurers of the other vehicle. This presumption can be overturned, but the evidence we obtained suggested there had to be a very high degree of culpability for a Claimant to lose their presumptive right to damages.
Given the facts of our case, we felt that – whilst it was inevitable our client’s right to compensation would be reduced – it would not necessarily be entirely lost and we, working alongside an expert French lawyer, found some previous cases decided by the French Courts, which supported our argument.
The Defendant continued to deny liability, so the only way to try and get compensation for the client was to issue Court proceedings in the High Court which the Claimant, on our advice, duly did.
There is no doubt there was a real risk he could have lost the case, but we felt we had a strong, well supported argument, and were keen to try and help the Claimant – who had suffered life changing injuries as a result of the accident.
The case outcome
Two weeks before the start of a 5-day High Court trial we received a settlement offer from the Defendant which the Claimant accepted. This was a significant six-figure settlement, which allowed our client to make some much-needed changes to his accommodation which would support him in rebuilding his independence.