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Compensation For Motorist After Collision With Uninsured Driver In France

We successfully secured compensation for a man who was left with serious injuries and psychological trauma after a motorist drove into him and his friend on the hard shoulder as their vehicle was being repaired.

In August 2012, our client Christopher Pickard was working with his friend Paul Marshall in France. They had recently completed work on a winery and were returning along the A85 motorway when a wheel on their trailer became loose. They pulled over to the hard shoulder and phoned for assistance. A recovery vehicle arrived and the mechanic began fixing the loose wheel.

As they were waiting, a car veered off the motorway and crashed into them. The driver had fallen asleep and lost control of her vehicle. Mr Pickard was thrown into the road and seriously injured. Mr Marshall was caught in the wreckage of the three vehicles and sadly died at the scene. 

The physical and psychological impact of the accident was severe. Our client suffered spinal damage as well as serious whiplash, a broken knee and a broken ankle. His friend’s death understandably had a profound effect on him, and in the years after the crash he continued to have intense flashbacks. 

It transpired that the driver was uninsured. This meant that on top of the pain and distress caused both by his injuries and the loss of his friend, our client also had to deal with the legal complications arising from this.

In cases where drivers are uninsured, a claim can be brought instead against the Motorists Insurance Bureau (MIB). They had refused from the outset to take responsibility, however, and suggested that Mr Pickard’s claim be made against the recovery van, or even his own insurers – an action which was of course not only counter-intuitive but also legally impossible.
We successfully secured a settlement for Mr Pickard after a week-long trial at the Royal Courts of Justice, and the MIB were held responsible for compensating him.

Joseph Dawson, a specialist solicitor in our International Personal Injury team, represented Mr Pickard. He said: “We’re pleased that we have been able to secure judgment for our client, especially after the legal complexities of the claim. It has been disappointing for us all that the MIB has continually denied responsibility and substantially prolonged the legal proceedings. We hope that this settlement will enable Christopher to access the support and rehabilitation he needs to rebuild his life.”

Mr Pickard said:  “I am relieved that, with the help of my legal team at Irwin Mitchell, the MIB has been held liable for the incident after years of them denying responsibility and adding to mine and Paul’s family’s pain and suffering.”


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