The impact of an accident doesn’t always hit you physically…
I was knocked off my bike and was left with a broken pelvis. Luckily everything seems to have healed up just fine. A few scary moments when the old fellah wouldn’t stand to attention when requested but after six weeks everything was in working order.
I am in the RAF and I did not lose any pay. I am back on full duties. I used a solicitor local to me, and I am perfectly happy with her however, one issue was really bugging me. I lost a reunion of my old squadron who had organised a bit of a get together in Cyprus, it is something we have done every five years. I have only got four years left before I leave the RAF and this was the last chance to get together with mates who I had served in Afghan with. We all joined up at approximately the same time, and we will all be leaving at the same time, over the course of the next 3-10 years, so this is the last chance of getting all the boys back together.
My solicitors have told me that I have sustained no loss because my airfare was insured and the cost of the flight was reimbursed, as was the hotel. However this was a big deal for me. Sure, I can book another week out of season in Cyprus but without my old idiot mates, it will be a bloody dull week.
Am I really entitled to nothing? My mates have set up another get together two years down the line as a result of me missing this last one and I wonder If they are entitled to anything? They will be spending money they would not otherwise have spent.
Your solicitor, I am afraid, despite being at a perfectly decent firm is showing a lack of experience in the law of damages. She has made two fundamental mistakes.
The fact that you paid insurance for your holiday does not mean that the other driver can benefit from your insurance premium. You bought that insurance, you paid for it, and you did not buy it to let the other guy’s insurers off the hook. Therefore you are entitled to the cost of the holiday that you could not take as part of your claim, and you can pocket the insurance pay out too. This has been established law since Victorian times, admittedly a little nugget that a non-specialist might not know but you should alert your solicitor to the case of Bradbum v GWR (1874). This is a well-known case among personal injury lawyers, so you can add both the holiday insurance pay out and your personal injury claim to your collection of drinking tokens.
The second element is you meeting up with your RAF mates. This is a particular loss of amenity, and something you are not going to be able to easily replace. If this went to court I could see any judge in the country making an additional award for this. It is the same award that people make when, for example, as a result of an accident their silver wedding anniversary celebrations are knackered or they cannot get to their daughter’s graduation, or they miss a big family wedding in India. There are some things that are time dependent, and if you miss the boat, you miss the event. However, your mates are not going to get paid by anyone for organising ‘Crab Air on the Lash v2.0’ as they are not victims and therefore are entitled to nothing.
The award for your injury is not going to change but it is divided into three elements, pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Your pain has not been made worse, and you have not suffered any more pain from missing Crab Air on tour but you definitely lost a real amenity, and something the courts will readily recognise.
Unless you are easily embarrassed, the six weeks of erectile dysfunction will make a small amount of difference to your award but frankly you are not going to be at it like a Jack Hammer with a busted pelvis, so it won’t make a big difference.
My feeling is that most judges would award not less than £1,000 for the loss of the reunion and stick another £500 for loss of sex and some anxiety being caused by wondering if you would return to full sexual function, but you have so the payout will be modest. I think probably most Judges would find £2,500 at the top end for the lost reunion, and potentially an ex-military judge, could go higher, recognising just how important these get-togethers are to ex-forces, or even serving HM forces personnel.
Even if the insurers get a miserable face on about this, judges are usually quite kindly: they will recognise your loss of amenity, and if you have suffered a real loss of amenity it is unlikely that a court will award less than £1,000 for this. About £2,500 is, realistically, where I think you will finish up for this.
You get to keep the holiday insurance payout on top of a refund of the holiday due from the other guy’s insurance so if I know the stalwart men and women of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, you might want to keep quiet about that or they’ll be drinking at your expense. And not at mess rates.
Fast Bikes Magazine – November 2018