Mr Justice Foskett’s decision to allow an adjournment and give permission for the Claimant to change his accident reconstruction expert the day before a high court trial on liability in a head injury road traffic accident claim stands as good law after the claim settled before the Defendants appeal was heard. The Claimant’s reconstruction expert had collapsed in his joint statement such that the Defendant withdrew all of its offers and the Claimant was left facing a trial with both experts agreed that there was nothing that the Defendant could have done to avoid the collision. The high court judge found that the decision was a difficult one but that on balance the trial should be adjourned and a new expert instructed for the Claimant, as otherwise the Claimant would be substantially prejudiced. He ordered the Claimant to pay the Defendants costs of the application but not the trial as they could not demonstrate what loss they had suffered. Permission was given to the Defendant by Sharp LJ on paper for an appeal, despite it being a case management decision, with permission to appeal the costs order to be considered once a transcript had been obtained. Jonathan Watt-Pringle QC was instructed for the Defendant. By the date of the Court of Appeal hearing a new expert had been instructed by the Claimant and a new joint statement completed in which all issues were not agreed. The Defendant made a substantial six figure offer which was accepted by the Claimant shortly before the hearing of that appeal. David Rivers acted for the successful Claimant throughout instructed by Deborah Rose and Georgina Moorhead of Irwin Mitchell, Bristol.
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