The Huddersfield Daily Examiner has reported that Kirklees Council will apparently have to pay a large amount in legal costs after one of its workers brought – and succeeded with – a personal injury claim against it.
Mrs Kaye, an employee at Kirklees Council, brought a claim for personal injury against her employer after she was injured at work in 2005.
Mrs Kaye, a gardener at the Council, was helping to load a bin into a lorry when the accident at work happened in 2005. She had been claiming over £300,000 in her personal injury claim but was awarded little more than £2,000 at the Dewsbury Crown Court in June. The insurers – who are liable for the costs of the Claimant, which are reported to run into tens of thousands of pounds – subsequently appealed the order that they pay the Claimant’s costs on the basis that Mrs Kaye had not received anything like the figure that she was claiming at court (mainly due to conflicting medical evidence). The case came to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal rejected the insurers’ argument that they should not be responsible for the Claimant’s costs.
Lord Justice Jackson stated in the judgment that he believed that the substantial legal bill that the Council was faced with could have been avoided if the Council had made a Part 36 offer prior to settle the case prior to it coming to court. He further stated: “I dread to think what costs were run up as this case proceeded towards trial. I much regret to see that no attempt was made by the appellant’s liability insurers to settle this action by making a modest offer.”
Marc Hadrill, a personal injury solicitor at Redmans, commented: “This case demonstrates the importance of both sides making active efforts to settle cases before they come to court – there are substantial cost and liability consequences to do so for both Claimants and Defendants in the majority of cases.”