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Scottish Counter Fraud team success at proof

The Scottish Counter Fraud team had success at a proof in Tain Sheriff Court securing a saving of almost £4000 in respect of repair and hire charges; and £10,000 in respect of third party solicitor costs.  In addition, DWF were awarded expenses amounting to almost £9000.

The pursuer intimated a claim for vehicle repairs in the sum of £2464.80 and credit hire charges in the sum of £2160 following a road traffic accident on 24/04/15 when his vehicle was parked and unattended.  The credit hire charges allowed for 20 days worth of hire during which time the pursuer’s vehicle was in the garage for repairs.

The defender’s insured’s position was that the collision was minor and that there had been nothing more than scrapes to both vehicles as a result of the impact.  A passenger witness supported her position.

The pursuer instructed Mr Bernard Williams, Chief Engineer for Acorn Assessors, to assess the pursuer’s vehicle and comment on damage consistency as compared to the accident circumstances.  Mr Williams concluded that all of the damage was attributable to the incident and that the hire period was justified.

The defender instructed Mr Alan Bathgate, Consultant Engineer for T&T Technical Services, to consider the accident circumstances and assess damage consistency.  Mr Bathgate concluded that the majority of the damage would not have been sustained as a result of the impact and that the impact damage was restricted to scrapes on the paintwork only.  This would likely have cost £366 to repair and have taken 2 days.  He considered that the other damage was likely to have been sustained as a result of 2 or 3 previous incidents.  Based on this, a tender ( Part 36 Offer) was lodged shortly after proceedings were raised in the sum of £725. 

Following a full day of evidence, where the Pursuer denied any pre existing damage,  Sheriff Dickson accepted the defender’s position and preferred Mr Bathgate’s evidence over Mr Williams evidence.  He awarded £366 in respect of vehicle damage and £302.40 for credit hire charges.

The pursuer was awarded Small Claims expenses of £150.  This sum covers all pre-litigation work, court dues, litigation work, proof preparation, travel time to and from court in Tain, proof conduct, the pursuer and his partner’s expenses of attending court and Mr Williams witness fee for completing his report , travel to the court and appearance at the Proof.  This was therefore a significant loss for the pursuer’s solicitor.

In addition, as the pursuer failed to beat the Tender, expenses on the Summary Cause scale were thereafter awarded in favour of the defender from the date the tender had been lodged.  Expenses and outlays amount to approximately £9000.  Therefore, not only has the pursuer lost out in respect of his claim and expenses, he is obliged to meet DWF’s expenses which far outweigh the sum awarded plus expenses.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.