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I read with interest a recent legal claim for Personal Injury Compensation involving a Rugby Player who claimed that he was blinded in one eye through the negligent and violent actions of an opponent whilst playing for Moseley against Coventry RFC in September 2001. Clearly, this is no standard or normal Personal Injury Claim and I doubt very much that the claimant was able to find a No Win No Fee Claims Management Company or Solicitor very easily.
High risk case for solicitors
This claim was always going to be difficult to win as it rested on the good old fashioned ‘he said she said’ kind of argument! In most No Win No Fee Personal Injury Claims, a Solicitor or Claims Management Company will evaluate the likely chances of success any claim will have. It is all about risk assessment and if a claim has strong chances of success, it can be run on a No Win No Fee basis (Conditional Fee Agreement) with ease. Clearly, if a claim is weak or extremely risky – as this one was – then it is far from likely to be taken on by a Solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis.
In most claims, there are clear hazards that were foreseeable, obvious negligence and rules broken – like for example when someone suffers an injury in the workplace because an employer cut corners and failed to provide the correct equipment and training. In cases like that, it is easy to evaluate a claim and get things moving. In the instance of the Rugby Players claim, such an evaluation would be much harder and therefore very risky for a Solicitor to take on with no guarantee of payment of their fees.
The client represents himself
As a result of the difficulty of this claim, the claimant Rugby player was left with no option other than to represent himself and it seems he did a very good job of it! He gave evidence at the courts and was able to call on witnesses from his Rugby team who corroborated his version of events. The courts were told that one of the two defendants was initially charged by the Police with Assault, but that the charge was later dropped due to a lack of sufficient evidence. The Judge took evidence from the claimant, witnesses and both defendants before adjourning the case for a while.
After the adjournment, the Judge awarded the claim in favour of the claimant, but ruled that one of the two defendants were not liable for the injuries that had been inflicted on the Claimant. The exact level of damages will be set at a further hearing later this year.