Judge reverses ruling that would have pushed up costs seven times
Allianz has won an appeal against a lower court ruling that it should pay increased costs because of a client’s late response to medical evidence.
In Bobby Prior Vs Silverline International, the defendant was accused of not responding within 21 days of the disclosure of medical evidence. The claimaint submitted a request for costs seven times more than would have applied if court proceedings had not been issued, law firm BLM, advising Allianz, said after the case.
Birkenhead County Court originally found in favour of the claimant. However, a Liverpool Senior Circuit judge disagreed and overturned the earlier decision, finding in favour of the defendant.
BLM said the ruling acknowledged the proactive steps taken by Allianz to resolve the dispute and rejected the claimant’s argument that in high-volume low-value personal injury cases it is reasonable to adopt a “tick-box” process to the issue of proceedings.
The Senior Circuit Judge said that the proportionality of issuing proceedings must be considered before doing so, even if a party might be technically entitled to do so.
BLM lawyer Adam Burrell said: “It is simply not good enough for computerised processes to dictate the circumstances in which proceedings can be issued. This decision is a good example of a robust stance against unreasonable attempts to maximise costs without stopping to think whether claims can be resolved in a more fair and just manner, ensuring that costs are recovered in a reasonable fashion.”
Nick Kelsall, Technical Claims Manager at Allianz, said: “This is a very important and positive case for the wider insurance market. I hope it is used by the industry as a great example of tackling the problem of premature unjustified legal proceedings. It’s great to see the courts taking a more proactive approach to such claims; that may be due to increased claimant activity or due to improved processes and proactivity on behalf of the insurance industry.”