Compensation at last for injured Polish man after "surveillance" ordeal

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Compensation at last for injured Polish man after "surveillance" ordeal

21st February 2013

A Polish man who sustained a serious head injury when he was hit by a car has received £800,000 in compensation following a legal battle with the driver’s insurer.

Katie Pendower, a specialist serious injury lawyer with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the incident happened almost five years ago, when the young man was hit by a car being driven by the defendant as he crossed a road in the early hours of the morning.

“Although this case was on the face of it relatively straightforward, the defendants seemed to have problems keeping to the Court’s timetable,” said Katie, a partner with the firm. “Despite this, we were able to progress the case at our own speed, securing interim payments on behalf our client at a very early stage and ensuring he had access to the rehabilitation he badly needed.”

Katie said that she had been instructed by the client just over six months after the incident, because he was aware the firm had a specialist serious injury department as well as Polish speaking lawyers. “As is unfortunately the case in most traumatic head injury cases, it can take a significant length of time – in some cases years – for the true extent of any brain injury to manifest,” she said.

“My client was living alone in the UK, and had no outside support. By ensuring we gathered medical evidence and reports as soon as possible after being instructed, we were able to successfully pursue an interim payment to fund his rehabilitation – with Polish-speaking carers – at a very early stage.”

As the case moved towards a trial to determine the value of the claim, the defendants – the insurance company of the driver of the car which had hit the man – sought to postpone the hearing. “We refused that request as we had all the evidence we needed,” said Katie, “and then five days before the trial was due to begin they disclosed their ‘surveillance footage’ to us.”

Katie said she was told by the defendants that they had secured video footage and reports which showed that her client was working, even though part of his claim was based on his being unable to work due to his injuries.

“Once we saw the footage it was clear they had filmed the wrong man,” said Katie. “My client - who was in his 20s at the time of the incident – spent the days that followed the collision in intensive care, and more than two months in hospital. To suggest that he was in fact fit and well enough to work, implying that he was in some way exaggerating his symptoms, was simply outrageous.”

Katie said that despite her client’s obvious serious head injury and facial scarring, the defendants stated that he had been filmed by them going to work. “It was simply unbelievable,” she said. “We knew they were mistaken, and immediately pointed out to them that the so-called surveillance in fact showed our client’s brother. The team and I set about obtaining statements from other people who were also in the car that my client allegedly drove and from the employment agency who was supposedly employing him - all of which made clear that the individual recorded in the surveillance was not our client but was indeed his brother.

“But the defendants would not accept that. They remained absolutely convinced and resolute in their outrageous claims – up until the morning of the trial that is, when they saw my client and his brother standing side-by-side on the steps of the court building.”

Katie said the defendants then realised their error and promptly entered into negotiations to settle the claim in full.

“Within a half an hour of them realising their mistake we had settled the claim on our client’s behalf for £1,000,000, subject to a 20% reduction for his part in the accident,” said Katie. “We were delighted to be able to finally secure our client the compensation which can help him to get on with his life.”

Katie said that despite the serious nature of his brain injury and the fact that the client spoke only limited English, the specialist team at Fentons – which included Polish lawyers - was able to deal with the case seamlessly and speedily.

“The members of our Polish legal team were able to secure all the evidence and witness statements we needed in order to ensure the client received the level of compensation to which he was entitled, at the earliest opportunity” she said. “After the ordeal he has been through, I am pleased that my client is now able to begin rebuilding his life and planning his future without worrying about his financial security,” she said.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of serious head and brain injuries.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.