I have an unusual query. I had an accident a couple of years ago. A lady pulled out of a side road and into my path. I hit her and went over the car.
My solicitor took my case to court and I won 100% (in 2023). I now have a problem with [name removed] who are telling me I owe them £10,000 in hire charges. My current solicitor tells me he cannot advise me further as his job finished when he won my case at court. What can I do?
Let’s give this some context. You suffered injuries in a straightforward car versus motorcycle road traffic collision. The lady driver disputed she did anything wrong, hence why your solicitor needed to issue court proceedings and put this before a judge. Your solicitor did a good job as you won 100%. Your case was then about ‘quantum’ i.e. How much money are you due? Here is where things went a bit awry. I can see you had a medical report for your injuries, all good here. You also had a list of broken parts on your motorcycle and your kit. This is all supported by evidence and the judge accepted this and awarded you damages.
However, the £10,000 appears to be for a hire bike you were given after the accident. I won’t name the company which gave you this bike, but let’s call it ‘Dodgy and Dodge, Dodge Limited’ (‘DDD’). The judge made £0 award for your hire bike costs based on the fact you could not prove you needed a hire bike at all, never mind on an inflated ‘credit’ hire basis. The judge was perfectly entitled to make that finding based on the evidence he had before him.
Your case has now ended. You got the damages you were entitled to. It appears DDD has now reared its head and wants its £10,000 from you. They appear unhappy the judge awarded nothing, but don’t understand judges can make such decisions!
DDD cannot appeal the judge as they are not a party to proceedings. The judge, quite rightly, did not allow this sum to be claimed against the driver who knocked you off. That is all. He did not decide on the legality of the contract you signed with DDD.
Here is where the problems start. If you signed a contract with DDD then, under the terms of that contract, you owe £10,000 no matter the outcome of the trial. This seems a tad unfair but that is the legal position.
Your current solicitor would need a new retainer in place to represent you in this new case, as it has nothing to do with the lady who knocked you off. It has everything to do with the paperwork you signed with DDD. Unless you can show the agreement was void ab initio i.e. void from the outset, such that it contained illegal clauses or was not certain, I think you have
Now is the time to really lawyer-up as you have £10,000 at stake, from a company, DDD Limited, which knows you have some money as you won at trial. There is no such thing as a free lunch.