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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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I have received a claim form arrising out of a

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I have received a claim form for damages arrising out of a road traffic accident on the 11/01/2014.
I was not aware that the claimant was seeking recompense, I had agreed to cover the minor damage costs at the time and given him my details. I have until now not heard from him. Should he have contacted me prior to issuing proceedings and is it worth the effort of contesting?
Hi, thanks for your question, I will assist you with this.
Did you inform your insurance company about the accident? Has the claim form been provided directly by the claimant or his solicitors?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The vehicle I was using was hired and undamaged and I didn't inform my insurers.

His solicitors.

Hi Tom
I am afraid that you are going to have to contact your insurance company.
The claimant's solicitors should have sent a letter of claim or in fact a CNF (claim notification form) prior to commencing legal proceedings. Are you sure this is not a CNF rather than a claim form?
Unfortunately, whiplash claims are very common and often made even when there is the most minor of damage. The problem is that if you accept that the incident occurred and claimant has a medical report confirming he sustained injury, it is very difficult to avoid the claim. Further, the damages for the injury are usually - depending on the medical report stating the prognosis - between £1,000 - £4,000. So unless you are willing to pay that out of your own pocket, then you really need to contact your insurer.
If you have any further questions, please ask.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The Claim is from the County Court for the hire cost of a replacement vehicle (£369.90 + costs).

The amount is not the issue, rather whether I should have been contacted and given the opportunity to settle prior to a claim being made incurring costs and fees and if it is worth my while contesting?

Ah, I see.
It is usual to provide an opportunity to settle prior to commencing legal proceedings.
As the claim form was served on your by his solicitors I presumed (my fault) this was a personal injury matter and/or a fast track (i.e. higher than £1000 damages) matter.
This is a small claim matter. It is perhaps worth admitting the claim but disputing costs on the grounds that they failed to attempt to negotiate a settlement prior to issue proceedings. Litigation should be a last resort, not the first step!
As a small claim the costs are extremely limited therefore if your dispute is not accepted by the court, for any reason, costs will be limited.
Once you have a claim form you have to provide an acknowledgment within 14 days saying whether admit or deny the claim. If you do not respond in time they can apply for judgment in default plus costs (although limited). Don't miss the deadline.
You could also contact the solicitors advising them that you are willing to pay the hire, but not the legal fees due to the claimants pre-action conduct being a breach of the CPR - i.e. failure to attempt to resolve prior to litigation.
This is the link to the appropriate section of the CPR which provides you with the full details of what the court expects "Pre-Action" -
I hope this answers your question. If you have any others please ask.
Kasare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you.