Q Why can’t I get full compo?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

In my com­pen­sa­tion claim my so­lic­i­tor has said I need to take ac­count of ‘lit­i­ga­tion risk’ and is suggest­ing I ac­cept a 25% lower val­u­a­tion than his full val­u­a­tion of my in­juries and fi­nan­cial loss be­cause of it. Why should I?

An­drew Evans, Birm­ing­ham

Lit­i­ga­tion is the process of tak­ing a case to court so that the judge can reach a de­ci­sion on the out­stand­ing is­sues. Most in­jury claims never reach court. How­ever, be­cause bike ac­ci­dents in­volve more se­ri­ous in­juries than other ac­ci­dent claims more is at stake to the pay­ing party so they are con­tested more of­ten.

The ‘lit­i­ga­tion risk’ your so­lic­i­tor has men­tioned is a way of set­tling with­out go­ing to court.

The idea is that in some cases a Claimant can ac­cept a 20-25% de­duc­tion on the value of their claim to re­flect the risk of go­ing to court and not achiev­ing the de­sired out­come. That is the risk of at­tend­ing court, get­ting a judge who is prej­u­diced against bikes, poor wit­ness ev­i­dence, a sud­den sur­prise in what is said or even new ev­i­dence at the last minute. The point be­ing go­ing to court is risky and lit­i­ga­tion risk “buys off” the risk.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that if you end up at court it means that lawyers on each side have op­pos­ing views of what the re­sult should be and clearly the judge will have to make a de­ci­sion. That de­ci­sion is can al­ways go the wrong way.

I don’t ad­vise ac­cept­ing a re­duc­tion for lit­i­ga­tion risk un­less there are ob­vi­ous risks, but when 25% is not much mon­e­tar­ily it of­ten makes sense as clients don’t like at­tend­ing court.

‘If you end up in court there is al­ways the risk of the wrong re­sult’

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