After The Event Insurance Product Spotlight: Housing Disrepair claims – ATE Insurance

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As well as a range of ‘off the peg’ solutions, we do also offer After The Event Insurance policies for Housing Disrepair claims.

We pride ourselves on our understanding of the needs of both the solicitor and the modern law firm and it was with this in mind that we decided to offer a bespoke solution for those occasions when a standard ATE policy just doesn’t fit the bill. We understand that from time to time the necessity for an ATE policy on a particular claim may not seem apparent at the outset or simply gets overlooked.

Has your client been living in a poorly maintained property and your landlord is refusing to rectify the problem?

Our new Housing Disrepair Policy has been designed with the customer in mind. We can help take the stress out of the process with our flexible and competitively priced policy.

Our Housing Disrepair policies can be used for small, fast or multi-track claims and covers claims for disrepair, dilapidation or neglect of any residential dwelling and any related claim for personal injury.

Typically, people who need legal advice with regards to repairs being carried out on their homes, often lack the finance to pursue a Housing Disrepair claim.

With legal aid being severely restricted in recent years our Housing Disrepair ClaimSafe After The Event Insurance legal expense insurance policies can help plug the funding gap and provide Claimants with protection against adverse costs and disbursements in unsuccessful cases, with a premium that is affordable and deferred and only payable where damages are recovered.

Benefits of a Housing Disrepair After The Insurance Policy

There are many benefits to our Housing Disrepair policies and these follow our tried and trusted procedures including;

  • We offer a Fixed Money Premium which remains unchanged throughout the claim, irrespective of how long it takes or the stage at which the case concludes.
  • Payment of the premium is deferred until the end of the case giving your client some extra peace of mind.
  • Reporting requirements have been deliberately kept to a minimum and we pay all valid claims in full within 7 days.
  • We look to provide our clients with After The Event Insurance products that both cost effective and require minimal administration.

For more information about our Housing Disrepair policies and premiums and the benefits, call us now on 0870 766 9997 or contact Kirsten Roberts by email kirsten@boxlegal.co.uk

Posted in Personal Injury Claims & ATE Insurance

Dangerous Work at Height

Robin Selley

In a rather unusual case, an “employee”, not an employer as we would often see, has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for dangerously working at height.

Back in January 2015, the HSE were contacted by a member of the public to report that a man had been seen balancing on scaffold tubes in the rain whilst working on the roof of a multi-storey hotel development in central Manchester.

We will all have seen the famous black and white photograph (Lunch atop a Skyscraper (New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam) showing construction workers taking a break during the construction of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, New York City. Times have of course moved on and this sort of working practice has long gone.

Back to central Manchester where HSE Inspectors found David Mulholland working on the roof. He had apparently climbed up the scaffold to hammer the steel beams into place and had not used the tower scaffold that had been made available for him.

There was also a full time scaffolder on site available for any of the contractors to utilise to ensure safe working platforms were in place.

Mr Mullholland pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, fined £1,400.00 and was ordered to pay costs of £2,939.18.

HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case:

“This case dealt with a serious work at height risk which could have led to a fatal incident. David Mullholland failed in his duty to protect his own safety while at work and also placed others at risk had he dropped any tool from the position he was seen in some 27 metres above street level. During HSE’s investigation he said that he did not appreciate how high he was.

“Never before in my career as an HSE Inspector have I seen such a staggering disregard for personal safety. It is a matter of pure luck that no-one was injured or killed.

“My thanks go to the member of the public who reported their concern to us as they have been instrumental in saving the life of Mr Mulholland and arguably anyone below him at that time.”

It is not always employers who expose their workers to significant risks whilst at work, sometimes employees clearly do not require any help from their employers at all to expose themselves and others to a serious risk of harm.

Our After the Event Insurance can be used for Accidents at Work, Slips & Trips and Occupiers Liability Claims.

Our ATE Insurance is designed to be flexible, competitively priced yet comprehensive so as to deal with a wide range of accident circumstances.

Our legal team have many years of claims handling experience between them. In former lives, they were in private practice so, if you call up and want to talk about ATE Insurance or about a case, they will be able to speak your language, which helps don’t you think?

But why not take a look and find out more here; http://www.boxlegal.co.uk/ate-insurance-for-non-motor-claims/

Posted in Personal Injury Claims & ATE Insurance

Housing Association’s safety failings

Robin Selley

There are, sadly, regular news stories of people being affected by carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK, frequently caused by faulty works or appliances. The stark reality is that exposure to carbon monoxide can be extremely serious. There are approximately 400 admissions to hospital with Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning in England each year and a number of deaths.

Often such exposure comes following faulty works to appliances at home or in the workplace. But towards the end of 2016 it was reported by the HSE that a Housing Association had been prosecuted after allowing renovations to take place to properties that put residents at risk of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning, after chimneys had been removed from properties on two separate occasions.

The chimneys acted as the necessary gas flue for adjacent properties but this was only discovered during annual gas checks. No risk assessments had been carried out prior to this work being commenced and there was no procedure in place for this type of work for workers to follow.

Having pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) the Housing Association were fined £8,000.00.

Around seven people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

Not all claims for Housing Disrepair would include an element for personal injury but this type of exposure would undoubtedly present a potential claim for damages for any injury and loss suffered.

We now provide an After the Event Insurance Policy for Housing Disrepair claims, which can be used for small, fast or multi-track claims. Our policy covers claims for disrepair, dilapidation or neglect of any residential dwelling in addition to any related claim for personal injury.

We offer a fixed premium for Housing Disrepair claims, which remains unchanged throughout the life of the claim.

There are many benefits to our Housing Disrepair policies which you can find here.

 

Posted in Personal Injury Claims & ATE Insurance

Who Needs Failed Conveyancing Insurance?

Robin Selley

MoveSafe Abortive Insurance

Most conveyancing transactions will go ahead without any problems with some straightforward completions taking place within a matter of weeks often being achieved. There are weekly news stories of difficulties in the housing market, for first time buyers struggling to get on the housing ladder, to those being priced out of London. It can be a bit of a minefield when trying to buy or sell a home.

But what happens if you do have conveyancing problems and what can you do to protect yourself?

Delays with conveyancing can be extremely frustrating for all parties but that frustration can be intensely annoying and, not to forget expensive if those problems cause a conveyancing transaction to fall through.

It may be more likely that problems will occur where there is a long chain and sometime you will have no control over any obstacles which are elsewhere in the chain. It follows that you have much more control over conveyancing problems with your own sale/purchase.

Some failures on transactions may well turn out to be a breach of contract between you and the Solicitor acting for you. An innocent party may be entitled to damages for loss as per Special Condition 7.2 of the Standard Conditions of Sale (5th Edition).

But as a conveyancer, can you afford to offer your residential property clients a full No-Transaction, No-Fee service?

As a conveyancer you have to remain competitive and may often have to write-off your charges if a transaction does not go ahead but with your client still having to pay for any wasted survey and searches. So both conveyancer and the purchaser / seller lose out financially.

Our MoveSafe Abortive Insurance, designed to take the strain should your purchase fall through, is available to both residential sellers and purchasers and applies to all Freehold and Leasehold transactions.

The MoveSafe Abortive Insurance policy provides protection against loss of legal and survey fees should the sale or purchase not go through. Moving house is stressful enough without the threat of wasted expenditure.

Can you and your client’s afford not to have Abortive Conveyancing Insurance in place? If not, take a look here http://www.boxlegal.co.uk/movesafe/ and get in touch with us to discuss our MoveSafe Abortive Insurance product.

Posted in MoveSafe - Abortive Transaction Insurance

A note of caution from your friendly After the Event Insurance provider about signing Statements of Truth?

Robin Selley

There have been a number of reported cases over the years highlighting failures when Statements of Truth have been signed on behalf of a client, but it is always worth giving a word of caution to practitioners, this time following a disciplinary action from the SDT.

An experienced solicitor, who was admitted to the roll in 1983, used old signatures on a revised Particulars of Claim. The Tribunal heard that the solicitor has issued proceedings for a claim following an RTA, but with a document that he had manually altered.

The claim was originally on behalf of three Claimant’s and each had signed a Statement of Truth, sent to the Defendant’s solicitor in June 2013. However, after one of the Claimants withdrew, new proceedings were issued in October 2013. But the solicitor had amended the Particulars of Claim, using Tipp-Ex and hand writing other changes to the Statement of Truth.

The Defendant’s applied to strike the claims out on the basis that the new Particulars of Claim were not properly signed by the Claimants. That application was resisted on the basis that it was ‘quite common’ for signatures to be taken at an early stage and used later on, also claiming that consent had been given by the Claimants’ to amend the Particulars.

The case was struck out and the Claimant’s solicitor was reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that he had attempted to mislead the Court and Defendant into believing the contents of the Particulars had in fact been verified by the Claimants when that was not the case.

Jackson was fined £7,000 and also had to pay costs.

Outside the coverage of an After the Event insurance policy

A cautionary tale then as one must also remember that the Claimants actions were Struck Out and that would no doubt have led to a claim against the firms Professional Indemnity insurer as an After the Event insurance provider would be unlikely to cover such a case.

Anyone signing a statement of truth on behalf of a client should read Practice Direction 22 (https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part22/pd_part22) periodically. In relation to the lawyer signing the statement of truth the rules are clear so do make sure that you can and do comply, entirely, with the Practice Direction.

Posted in After The Event Insurance, After The Event Insurance Products

Fixed costs: The future for personal injury litigation and After The Event insurance

Jon Gouldsmith

Earlier this month Lord Justice Jackson was calling again for the extension of the fixed cost regime to all civil litigation cases with a value of less than £250,000. The government has not given a clear response to this proposal, but has been somewhat clearer on its position in relation to personal injury claims.

A clinical negligence fixed costs regime is actively being worked on together with a new streamlined process for personal injury claims with a value of less than £25,000. An announcement is due imminently. Following clinical negligence there has been a clear suggestion that noise induced hearing loss claims are the next to receive the same treatment.

So how will this affect personal injury litigation?

On the bright side, it will see an end for the need for cost budgeting and cost assessments but this comes at a heavy price. In a qualified one way costs shifting environment, defendants i.e. insurers, and their solicitors are not expecting to recover costs and therefore their litigation budget will remain unaltered. Claimants, however, will invariably be instructing their solicitors by way of CFA where only a maximum of 25% of their damages can be deducted for solicitors costs. Remember, this success fee deduction is allowed to help the solicitor cover the costs of those cases which fail, not to make up the shortfall of costs on those cases that succeed.

In a fixed cost regime the claimant solicitor will not be paid for the work they carried out but will be paid costs “proportionate” to the value of the claim. Unfortunately however, clinical negligence and noise induced hearing loss claims are equally complex and time-consuming whether the claim is valued at £1000 or £10,000. Meaning that defendants will be at an even greater advantage in defending claims because claimant solicitors will be handcuffed in the time they can spend in dealing with a file, particularly in lower value cases.

The introduction of the fixed costs regime in RTA and non-RTA personal injury claims has already led to an observable inequality of arms, but in these less complex cases, the disadvantage has not been so stark.

After The Event Insurance

Personal injury After The Event insurance policies will themselves be little affected, because qualified one way shifting is in place. The real risk of an adverse costs award in a QOCS protected claim is when a part 36 offer is not beaten or if an interim or pre-action application is unsuccessful, neither of which will be affected by the fixed costs regime.

If, however, the fixed costs regime is extended to general litigation, this might lead to a reduction in ATE insurance premiums for cases which do not have the protection of QOCS where the costs risk should in theory reduce.  Unfortunately this comes at a heavy price and one that claimants might prefer not to pay.

Posted in After The Event Insurance

PI reforms ‘put on hold’. Good news for ATE Insurance market

Linsey Carroll

In November 2015, the then Chancellor George Osbourne proposed plans for further reform to the Personal Injury sector, including plans to raise the small claims limit to £5,000 and  to scrap compensation for soft tissue injuries entirely.

The personal injury sector and after the event issuers have waited with baited breath since then for news on these proposals, and it has now been announced that Justice secretary Liz Truss is rethinking plans for the major overhaul of the personal injury sector.  It is understood that the secretary of state has decided not to go ahead with reforms ‘at the moment’.

Law Society Chief executive Catherine Dixon said: ‘We’re delighted government has recognised that its proposed changes to personal injury claims would hamper access to justice, particularly for those on lower incomes. Anyone who suffers injury through no fault of their own should be entitled to claim the compensation they need to help them recover and get on with their lives.’

Of course not all parties are happy with the apparent moratorium on such reforms, with the Associate of British Insurers (ABI) saying that the decision will see ‘ambulance-chasers laughing all the way to the bank’.  The Ministry of Justice have since commented that ‘The number and cost of whiplash claims remains too high, increasing premiums for ordinary motorists.  We remain committed to tackling this issue, and will set out our plans in due course.’

ATE Insurance

Over the years, the personal injury sector and the after the event Insurance market have seen the industry weather many storms, but these particular reforms may have been a step too far. It is clear however that the industry needs work to continue to help genuine claimants and to remain transparent.  In particular, work still needs to be done in regulating CMC’s specifically working to end cold calling.

As ATE Insurers, we are of course keen to insure Claimants are as fairly represented as possible.  Hopefully this pause in reform is a shift away from the unnecessary hostility between the two sectors, and will allow time for sensible discussion and progress, rather than a one way implementation of further onerous legislation.

Posted in After The Event Insurance, Personal Injury Claims & ATE Insurance

After The Event Insurance Product Spotlight: Bespoke ATE Insurance

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Bespoke ATE Insurance

As well as a range of ‘off the peg’ solutions, we also offer Bespoke After The Event Insurance policies for all types of Personal Injury Claims.

We pride ourselves on our understanding of the needs of both the solicitor and the modern law firm and it was with this in mind that we decided to offer a bespoke solution for those occasions when a standard ATE policy just doesn’t fit the bill. We understand that from time to time the necessity for an ATE policy on a particular claim may not seem apparent at the outset or simply gets overlooked.

However, you may then have found yourself regretting this decision at a later date when proceedings are issued and concerns regarding adverse costs and risk of disbursements crop up. Of course there are also cases that crop up from time to time that are complex in nature and are clearly a multitrack matter from the outset. It is for use in circumstances like these that we created our bespoke ATE policies.

To apply for a bespoke policy, all we require from our panel members is that you complete a simple on line form. We’ll be able to provide with a quote within 24hrs.

We look to provide our clients with After The Event Insurance products that both cost effective and require minimal administration.

Main benefits of Bespoke After The Event Insurance

  • Appropriate level of Indemnity to fit the case
  • Lowest simple non staged premiums available on the market
  • Quick and easy online application
  • Application assessed and decision made with 24hrs
  • No application fees required
  • Assessment of file not necessary
  • No prospects of success test
  • Claims paid in full and within 7 days on all After The Event Insurance policies
  • Cancellation allowed
  • ATE Insurance Premiums are deferred to end of case
  • All After The Event insurance policies have Part 36 cover as standard
  • Minimal Reporting on all ATE Insurance policies
Posted in After The Event Insurance, After The Event Insurance Products

“Exaggeration won’t matter – will it?”

Robin Selley

After a few helpful recent cases for Claimant’s on the issue of “fundamental dishonesty” the Supreme Court recently gave its decision in the case of Hayward v Zurich Insurance plc [2016] UKSC 48.

The Claimant had suffered injury during the course of his employment and took the opportunity to grossly overstate the extent of his disability, claiming more than £400,000 from his employer’s insurers.

Zurich, having admitted primary liability for the accident, suspected that the Claimant might be trying to pull a fast one and did plead that to be the case in terms of the extent of injury and subsequent loss. However, the insurer chose to settle the claim for a fraction short of £135,000 even though they had surveillance evidence at that time.

That was not the end of the case as we know.

The insurer was made aware that the Claimant had been lying all along and had fully recovered from his injuries a year before settlement was agreed. As such they sought to undo the settlement on the basis of fraud and have the award repaid to them. At trial, the Judge decided that the settlement should be set aside and repaid, awarding Mr Hayward £14,720.  However, the Court of Appeal overturned that decision and held that, given Zurich was aware of the fraud at the time of settlement; it could not be set aside once proof of the fraud was obtained.

Zurich appealed to the Supreme Court and in a landmark judgment for Defendants, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that where an insurer suspects fraud but has still chosen to settle a claim, they would be entitled to set aside the settlement under the tort of deceit, if they subsequently obtained proof that it was in fact fraudulent.

This follows hot on the heels of the decision in Versloot Dredging BV & Anor v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG & Ors [2016] UKSC 45 of the ability to decline payment on the basis of collateral lies told by the assured, although the lie in the Versloot Dredging case didn’t affect the value of the claim, so one not to be confused with Hayward.

Yes this case opens for the door for Defendant’s to revisit old settled cases that they may have had strong suspicions about. But could that door not open both ways, where Claimants have had strong suspicions that Defendants have acted fraudulently? The difficulty there of course is that one camp has much deeper pockets and can afford to take the point further, the other most probably can’t.

Posted in After The Event Insurance, Personal Injury Claims & ATE Insurance

‘Fightback’ in Fundamental Dishonesty Claims: An After The Event Insurers View

Linsey Carroll

Fundamental Dishonesty and ATE Insurance

The definition of ‘Fundamental Dishonesty’ is a term which has caused difficulty for both claimants and defendants since the advent of s.57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.  In the past year, both claimants and defendants have seen rulings from the Court in their favour, leading to increased confusion as apposed to clarity.

However, the Court of Appeal has recently assisted the Claimant’s cause, by providing support to a previous ruling in a lower Court, which held that the failure of a claimant to prove their case does not automatically mean that the claim was Fundamentally Dishonest, stripping the Claimant of its QOCS protection.

Whilst the initial case of Da Costa in the County Court did not directly deal with the finding of Fundamental Dishonestly and the loss of QOCS protection and After The Event Insurance, it still had relevance in relation to the argument.

In Da Costa, Lady Justice Black said: “The first thing to say is that a finding of fraud does not inevitably follow from a rejection of an accident claim as not proved. There may be many reasons why the claim is not proved other than that it has been fraudulently manufactured.

The words of Lady Justice Black have now been expanded upon in the Court of Appeal Case of Meadows v La Tasca (as yet unreported).

The claimant in the matter was initially unsuccessful in her tripping claim against the Defendant.  The defendant made an application asking the Court to find the claimant Fundamentally Dishonest, and upon reviewing the application and evidence, District Judge Khan concurred with the defendant and made a finding of dishonestly against the claimant.  As a result, QOCS protection was removed and the Claimant was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs in the sum of £7,210.00.

District Judge Khan ruled that he had not believed what the claimant or her witness had said had happened, describing their evidence as “riddled with inconsistencies”.

He said: “In those circumstances, it is difficult to see how this is not a dishonest claim. This is not, for example, a claim where there has been a misremembering of key events, or some confusion or lack of clarity in relation to dates, events, premises or the like. The effect of the inconsistencies… was such that I simply did not believe what Miss Meadows said to me or Mrs McGrath said to me.”

The claimant appealed this ruling, and after hearing evidence on behalf of the claimant, His Honour Judge Hodge QC overturned the finding of Fundamental Dishonesty made by Deputy District Judge Khan..  He said that;

‘It was not appropriate for the district judge to find that the accident had not happened in the circumstances described. He should have limited his decision… to a decision simply that the claimant had not made out her case on the evidence before him.’,  and went on to say that: ‘The inconsistencies and curiosities highlighted by the judge did not entitle him to go further and to find that the claim had been fabricated, and thus was fundamentally dishonest.’

The costs order against the claimant was reversed and the defendant ordered to pay an additional £12,500 for the costs of the appeal.

Claimant solicitors and After The Event Insurance providers have indicated that they are seeing a worrying trend of defendants alleging Fundamental Dishonesty where a claimant simply fails to prove their claim at trial, and this may lead to increased costs if claimants seek to appeal these findings.  Reducing the costs of litigation was of course something which the reforms of Lord Justice Jackson and the introduction of QOCS had hoped to achieve.

Given the latest Judgment in Meadows, we as ATE Insurance providers feel that there appears to be some respite afforded to the claimant, from what seemed like the latest line of attack from the defendant.  The battle may have been won by the claimant for now at least, but the war continues…

Posted in After The Event Insurance, Personal Injury Claims & ATE Insurance
Welcome to the After The Event Insurance Blog
This blog is produced by Box Legal Limited, providers of After The Event Insurance to the legal profession. Our aim is to provide news, advice and guidance on all issues around ATE Insurance and making personal injury claims. We welcome your comments and questions both on the blog and by contacting us direct on 0870 766 9997 or by emailing daniel@boxlegal.co.uk