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Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.
Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now. I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.
The court may want to see an expert report and indeed, as a claimant, the onus is on you to prove the claim on the balance of probabilities - meaning an expert report is recommended if you want to win the claim. If you do, the cost is recoverable from the defendant. You could refuse to agree but if the court doesn't have enough evidence to make a decision on the claim, the claim will fail which is a risk. Also the court needs to give permission to obtain and rely upon an expert report - I am not sure how far though the court process you are but generally when you complete the directions questionnaire it asks you if you want to rely upon expert evidence. If you have any evidence from a mechanic (not an expert witness) then this can be used to support your claim - again, I am not sure if you have that evidence or not. If you do not, the claim is likely to fail because of the fact a claimant has to prove their loss.
I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.
Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.
Thanks,the AA report may be useful and it should help support your claim, as it does refer to the fault. You would not be liable for the lawyer's fees, no. A small claims means that each party bears their own costs. The court does have discretion over this but it is only an issue if a party behaves poorly such as breaching the court directions and so forth.
You are within your rights, yes. However as a lawyer I would want to ensure a client will win and to ensure they win, an expert report is ideal - a fee of up to £750 for an expert report is recoverable in a small claim. You can use the AA evidence. If an expert were to be instructed then their duty is to the court (not you or the defendant) and they must be independent and impartial too. As an example, this company offers reports for both claimants and defendants : http://www.laird-assessors.com
My pleasure, thank you
My pleasure, thanks