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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13583
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I hope you are well. I was involved in a road traffic

Customer Question

Hello Pearl. I hope you are well. I was involved in a road traffic accident which was not my fault. The other party hit me from behind. The matter was due to go to trial but the defendant raised 'fundamental dishonesty' in their statement, and subsequently issued a 'drop hands' offer, which my legal team accepted. There were unintentional inconsistencies in what I told various doctors over the time period. The matter therefore did not go to trial. The defendant has however now said that they are going to place me on the 'fraud register' which would have significant consequences as I am registered with 3 professional accounting/finance institutions, and would lose my job were I to be placed on such a register. Given the matter never went to trial, and fundamental dishonesty was never proved, how can they place me on this register? I can't afford the time/money/energy to get independent legal advice and to challenge this if it happens but don't understand the grounds on which they can place me on a register without having a trial. Please advise.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Reading, U.K.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: See above.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No.
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hello?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Fraud requires evidence to be provided and the fact the trial did not go ahead doesn't matter - an insurer can still mark someone as fraudulent unfortunately. But like I say, they need a reason. By accepting a drop hands offer it insinuates your claim may have been exaggerated. The court doesn't need to try the claim for an insurer to put you on the list.

Your legal team should have agreed the drop hands offer only on the proviso the offer is accepted with no admission that there was any fraud. As your legal team didn't do this, the insurers have seen fit to add your name to the register. So potentially you have a professional negligence claim against your law firm. You could ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to look at this but there is no guarantee they will assist in this situation. You could negotiate with the insurer but there is likely a serious impact on you which you have already mentioned - to do with your employment. You could sue for professional negligence for future loss of earnings. We couldn't assist you as this is an internet forum and not a law firm but here are a list of law firms who could help you on a no win no fee basis, so nothing to pay up front:

  1. https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/professional-negligence-solicitors/
  2. https://www.irwinmitchell.com/personal/protecting-your-rights/resolving-disputes/professional-negligence
  3. https://www.beenletdown.co.uk/professional-negligence/solicitor/no-win-no-fee-professional-negligence/
  4. https://www.donoghue-solicitors.co.uk/professional-negligence/professional-negligence-no-win-no-fee/
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you. Would I be able to ‘challenge’ them putting my name on the register in any way?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Surely if the law firm provide ‘evidence’ to get me on a register, I can do something to get myself off?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Yes, it would mean threatening to issue court proceedings, to ask the court to make an order forcing them to take your name off. Its's be a Part 8 claim form (fee of £308 unless you qualify for a fee exemption) - the fee is recoverable if your application succeeds. You would need a letter before action to send to the insurer just to say you intend to do this unless they agree to remove your name within the next 21 days.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you. How do I go about getting such a letter?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

(insert their name and address) (insert date)

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sirs,

Re: Fraud Register

I refer to the above matter. (Insert details of the dispute).

This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraph 7 of the Protocol, and paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol.

I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against your company , for an order from the court in relation to my name being placed on the fraud register (to ask the court for an order competing you to remove it), unless you confirm in writing that you will agree to remove it. I expect your response no later than 4 pm on (insert date 21 calendar days).

Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee and statutory interest.

I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

(insert name)

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you. So I fill in this form, and send it to their legal team? To whom do I have to pay the £308?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

That's a template letter before action which you tailor and send to the insurer. If they didn't come back to you after 21 days then you could then issue a claim (with a Part 8 claim form) and send to the county court business centre with the fee of £308, payable to "HMCTS" - which stands for Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you again, Jim. You mention I can ‘issue a claim’. Is this a claim to present a case to the court to have my name removed? If so, is it here where I need to contact one of the firms you provided links to?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

I would ask one of those firms to do it for you - as you will be against the insurer's solicitor if you don't. The firms can also help with a professional negligence claim against your former legal team

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you. So if they have already put my name on this list, in what sort of ‘checks’ will it come up and what obligation do I have to my employer?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

I am not sure, you will need to speak to an employment lawyer on this site to ask (I deal with other legal matters but not employment). It should be OK to post a new question at no extra charge on this site.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
The drop hands offer letter that was provided to my legal team by their legal team states: ‘’Without prejudice, my client hereby makes a drop hands offer for your client to discontinue and each party to bear their own costs’’.Doesn’t the fact that we accepted that offer mean that we are not admitting guilt?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

It just means you each walk away from the court proceedings and bear your own costs. There is no mention of an admission of liability or anything else.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
them saying that me accepting the drop hands ‘insinuates guilt’ is unjust?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

It could be construed as that yes. Generally a drop hands offer if accepted just means you each walk away - when it says "without prejudice" it means it's an offer not for the court's eyes and a genuine attempt to settle. The insurer has gone too far in my view unless you accepted there was fraud for example.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I did not accept there was fraud, I just accepted the offer on advice of my legal team.They may have gone too far, but they are in their rights to do so and it is now up to me to fight to get my name off via the process you described, correct?It all feels very unfair that I have to fight to get it off, they should surely have to fight to get it on and not be able to just put it on?
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

Yes, that's all you can do i'm afraid. The insurer is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - you could ask the FCA for their view and if they can put pressure on the insurer - you can reach them on 0800(###) ###-#### so that's another option.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you, Jim.
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 14 days ago.

My pleasure, it'll get sorted i'm sure.