Husband and daughter receive damages after tragic road collision

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Husband and daughter receive damages after tragic road collision

25th June 2012

A man and his daughter have received substantial compensation after a tragic incident in which they lost two family members.

The man’s two daughters and their mother had been returning home from visiting family nearby and walking their dog when they were hit by a car in the late afternoon. His wife and one of his daughters were killed and his other daughter was also injured but thankfully survived the incident.

“This was a most tragic case, one which left my client and his surviving daughter absolutely devastated,” said Martin James, a fatal incident specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP. “Both he and his daughter suffered significant psychological injuries, and he had to leave his job in order to look after his daughter.”

Martin explained that a member of the Police’s Family Liaison team had suggested the man seek specialist legal advice following the incident. “The circumstances were horrific, and had a deep and lasting effect on my client and his daughter,” said Martin, a partner with the firm. “He passed close to the scene of the incident shortly afterwards – without realising his family were involved – before later returning to the area and discovering that his wife and daughters were casualties.”

Martin said his client had to formally identify his wife and daughter, and then tell his other daughter of their loss while she lay recovering in hospital. “The driver’s insurance company admitted liability for the incident itself, but refused to acknowledge the psychological impact on my client,” said Martin. “They conceded that his surviving daughter – who had witnessed her mother and sister being killed – had sustained a psychological injury, but disputed that he had been affected by the incident under the ‘immediate aftermath’ test.

“This is when a person does not directly witness an incident itself, but is affected by the incident very shortly afterwards,” he explained. “Obviously my client arrived at the scene – where there was a police road block – very shortly after the incident itself, and the recognition that it was his family involved was a devastating blow,” said Martin. “He was then subjected to the horror of having to indentify his wife and daughter.”

Nevertheless, the insurers continued to fight the case for more than four years. Martin said a claim for dependency was included – based on the lost earnings from his wife and his giving up his own job to look after his daughter – as well as claims for the psychological injuries both he and his daughter sustained.

“My client suffered significant problems in the months that followed, which ultimately led to him requiring medical treatment,” said Martin. “How the insurers had the audacity to dispute the effect this incident had on him is bewildering.”

After lengthy negotiations, a settlement was finally agreed. “They offered to settle without admitting liability for the psychological injuries or specifying the breakdown of the amount,” said Martin. “Regardless of the insurer’s refusal to acknowledge the devastating impact this incident has had on my client, we were able to secure a substantial settlement.

“Obviously no amount of money can compensate him and his daughter for their loss, but I do hope it enables them to look to the future without uncertainty over their financial security.”

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

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.