A claim was presented on the basis that the claimant had sustained a whiplash injury to her neck and lower back in the index accident, as well as psychological injury.
Having served evidence from a GP expert, the claimant’s solicitors indicated that their client had not recovered in line with his prognosis, and that an orthopaedic opinion was being sought. Nominations were provided, and the claimant’s solicitors confirmed that their client had duly attended the appointment.
Offers were then invited in settlement of the claimant’s claim based on the earlier GP report. The claimant was invited to disclose the orthopaedic report but refused to do so. In the meantime, the claimant continued to receive "accident-related" benefits on the basis that she was unable to return to work due to the injury to her lower back.
An offer to settle was made by the defendant on the condition that the orthopaedic report was disclosed. A global offer in the sum of £7,346.09 (including PSLA, loss of earnings and hire charges) was accepted on this basis by the claimant.
A Bill of Costs was served in the sum of £17,110.89. However, the matter settled pre-action for less than £10,000 and accordingly costs correctly fell to be assessed under the predictable costs regime pursuant to CPR 45 Section II. Costs were agreed in the sum of £4,776.
The orthopaedic report was duly disclosed. In this report the expert identified a pre-existing history of back pain, and it was noted that there was no contemporaneous record of any injury to the lower back at the time of the accident. The orthopaedic expert was unable to draw a connection between the index accident and the ongoing back symptoms.
At the date of settlement, the CRU liability was £11,330.26. An appeal was submitted to the Compensation Recovery Unit on the basis that the Certificate showed benefits which were not paid as a result of the index accident.
In light of the medical evidence and submissions made, a revised Certificate was released by the Compensation Recovery Unit limiting the recoverable benefits to a 3 month period, and a refund of £10,558.66 was secured for the client.