If you have been involved in a Road Traffic Accident, it is for you (as the Claimant) to prove your case.
There has been an increase in recent years whereby the Third Party Insurers may refuse to pay compensations to Claimants by alleging a Low Velocity Impact (‘LVI’). LVI assertions can arise in road traffic collisions where the Defendant alleges that the impact is unlikely to have caused injury to the Claimant, due to the low speed of the impact (less than 5 mph). Further, they can allege that as a result of this low speed, there was insufficient movement of the vehicle. It appears Insurers are raising LVI issues more regularly than previously.
When LVI is raised, the burden is still on the Claimant to prove he was injured as a result of the accident and not for the Defendant to prove that he was not.
Low Velocity Impacts raise three broad areas of dispute namely:
1. Is the Claimant telling the truth when he says that he was injured?
By raising LVI, the Defendant questions the Claimant’s credibility. As such, the Defendant will look at any inconsistencies in the Claimant’s various accounts of their injuries. When looking at whether the Claimant is credible, the Third Party Insurers will look at evidence found in the Initial Claim Notification Form, Hospital and GP notes, Physiotherapy notes, Medical report(s), Employment records and Witness statement(s). The Third Party Insurers may also seek pre and post-accident evidence from social media such as Facebook.
There may be particular features, such as pre-existing injuries, of a Claimant, which makes it more likely that he may suffer an injury, even if the accident was deemed to be a minor one. Defendants are unlikely to defend claims where the Claimant has a significant, pre-accident pathology.
The Defendant will also look into the Claimant’s history of injuries, look into whether the Claimant took time off work, and look at their gym records amongst other things. It is therefore recommended for a Claimant to disclose and provide details of all previous road traffic accidents that they have been involved in. One of the most common reasons Claimant’s are unsuccessful at Trial in these kinds of claims is because the Claimant has failed to disclose such accidents either deliberately or innocently to the Medical Expert.
2. Can the force of the impact be deduced from the damage to either or both of the vehicles involved and was the impact sufficient to cause occupant displacement?
When determining whether the force of the impact was sufficient to cause injury, the Third Party Insurers will look into the engineering evidence. They will look at the damage caused to both vehicles. They will also look at the areas of damage to both vehicles, the parts that required replacement, the labour and repair costs for both vehicles.
In some circumstances the Defendant can allege that a case is a LVI, solely based upon the lack of damage to the vehicles. It is therefore important to note that although some damage will be external and noticeable some damage will be hidden (i.e: damage behind the bumper) nonetheless capable of creating injury.
The Third Party Insurers will also analyse the vehicle movement and whether it was sufficient to cause occupant displacement.
3. Does the medical evidence support the Claimant’s contention that he was injured as a direct result of the accident?
This would assist a Court in being satisfied that the Claimant did sustain injury.
In conclusion, the prospects of a claim depends on the credibility and consistency of a Claimant.
If you have been involved in an accident and wish to claim compensation, please do contact The Specter Partnership on 0207 251 9900 for a free legal assessment of your claim.
The Specter Partnership