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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Civil and Commercial - Personal Injury

Summary

A complex case involving two mediations – one between the Claimant and the Defendants, and a second between the two Defendants themselves.

Background

Mr A, the Claimant, was dropping his wife at the station. He parked in an authorised space and was unloading her cases when a coach, parked in the next-door bay, rolled backwards, trapping him against the boot of his car. He suffered serious injuries and needed several operations including skin grafts and plated fractures. Though he was eventually able to walk again, he was still in considerable pain and unable to work. His wife, having witnessed the accident, had repeated nightmares and periods of stress, too.

Defendant 1, the owner of the coach, attended the mediation along with their insurers. The agency (Defendant 2) that supplied the driver was also involved. To add to matters, the driver did not have a current licence – he’d had one when the agency took him on but had later had it revoked and he failed to tell his employer.

Both defendants recognised that the Claimant was due compensation, but they couldn’t agree on how it should be calculated or which of them was liable. The claimant, who had a Conditional Fee Agreement with his lawyer, was claiming £350,000 plus costs for damages and loss of earnings. Prior to the mediation, he’d made an unofficial offer to settle for £200,000 plus costs.

They brought in an In Place of Strife mediator to help resolve the situation quickly, fairly, with everyone’s agreement. 

Outcome

The mediator separated the case into two discreet disputes, one between the Claimant and the Defendants and the other between the Defendants themselves.

The first claim was fairly quickly settled at £150,000 to the satisfaction off all parties, upon which the Claimant could get home, leaving his lawyer to take care of the paperwork.

The mediation between the two Defendants was longer and more emotional – for Defendant 2 in particular, who was not insured and faced bankruptcy if found to be solely liable. However, over the course of 10 hours, the mediator was able, thanks not only to her knowledge of their technical legal positions but also her understanding of the way their businesses operate, to get both parties to see that it was in their own best interests to avoid this eventuality and share the liability. Defendant 2 agreed to pay £10,000 a month for five months, whilst Defendant 1 committed to paying a lump sum of £100,000 within 28 days.