I was involved in a serious motorcycle accident where I broke both my wrists and both my elbows. I am a steel fabricator/welder by trade, and both my treating surgeon, and the surgeon who has reported on my case, as well as the Defendant’s own medical expert, agree that I cannot return to any sort of heavy trade.

There is a little bit of argument between them. One says I should not lift more than 10kgs and one says I should not lift more than 15kgs, both agree I cannot use hand tools, angle grinder, hammer or indeed any of the tools which I am required to use. I am going out of my mind at home, and would like to retrain. Previously, I was a decent swimmer competing at County level and I would like to re-qualify as a swimming coach, but my Solicitor advised me that I should not re-qualify in such a job, as, “I will not be mitigating my loss, as I could earn more doing something else”.

I am a practical man. I have not got a single GCSE, I was a good welder, and I am a good swimmer. I have looked at all the jobs which I think I can do, and I cannot work indoors, inside an office. I would go mental. Also, what job could I do in an office? I cannot use a keyboard, even without my injuries, I am not good on the telephone but I am enthusiastic and keen on swimming.

There are probably about three or four days’ work a week as a swimming coach. I will have to do some traveling and I would be self-employed. I have sneaked behind my Solicitor’s back and I have got my Level 1 qualification as a swimming coach, and I am halfway through my Level 2 – which means I can train junior swimmers on my own, and I have already started having job offers in for coaching at various schools and colleges. I want to do something with the rest of my life but my Solicitor is trying to stop me, even though I am ignoring him. Am I getting the right advice?

Terry, Basildon

You are getting about the worst advice you could get. When somebody has been seriously injured, the Judges love it, as indeed do insurers, when the individual tries his hand at doing something else. The “failure to mitigate” point is nonsense. I have checked out the person who is dealing with your case, and he is an admitted Solicitor, and he has been qualified for about as long as I have. I have to wonder why he is making such fundamental errors in law.

In order for the Defendants to show that you have failed to mitigate your loss (and even this term of “failure to mitigate” is one which the law does not recognise) you will have had to do something so irrational that your loss of earnings as a welder and fabricator is not linked to the accident, but your completely bizarre career choice. You have not made a bizarre career choice. You have made a rational career choice, considering your injuries, what you can do and what you are good at. I cannot even begin to start justifying your current Solicitor’s decision. You should crack on with getting your swimming coaching and do what you can to earn a living as a swimming coach. It will play brilliantly in front of a judge and I think what you are doing is absolutely to your credit. Your Solicitor, I am afraid, has got the law completely wrong.

Andrew Dalton

Fast Bikes February 2013

Andrew Dalton has been writing articles for Fast Bikes Magazine for a considerable period and have condensed what we believe are the most useful articles to you. White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors deal with personal injury claims and our sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deal with any road traffic offences.